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Game Recap

Panthers Fall In Season Opener

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Florida Panthers

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Panthers Fall In Season Opener
Florida Panthers 2, New York Rangers 5
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com

New York Rangers' Michal Rozsival, right, and Florida Panthers' David Booth (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Turn the page…and fast.

For 45 minutes Thursday evening in New York, the Panthers played a nearly flawless hockey game. In fact, it may have been their best two periods in two years.

But the club’s season-opener against the Rangers turned cruel in the third period when the Rangers scored two goals 12 seconds apart and four in the third period on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Panthers.

Playing before a full house at Madison Square Garden, against a team many have picked to win the Stanley Cup, the Panthers had the roof cave in on them beginning at 8:46 of the third period with the game tied at two when Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan scored 12 seconds apart. Martin Straka scored the fourth goal in the third period.

“For some reason, everything was going well, and then there was a collapse,” said goalie Tomas Vokoun. “Everyone of us, we lost the game ourselves.”

GM and coach Jacques Martin said the Panthers didn’t stick with the game plan in the third period. “We didn’t make the simple passes and we turned the puck over,” said Martin, who added the Panthers stopped getting the puck into the Ranger zone and making their defensemen work.

“For whatever reason we couldn’t control it,” said defenseman Bryan Allen.

It was a depressing finish for the Panthers, who played a strong game and showed signs of a maturing after allowing a Ranger goal just 37 seconds into the game.

Despite being down early 1-0, the Panthers gathered themselves, and they gathered themselves quickly. After being outshot 4-1 in the opening minutes, the Panthers registered 11 of the next 13 shots. They also remained physical throughout and held Jagr without a shot through the first 40 minutes.

Game Highlights
Starting Lineups
Panthers     Rangers
Post-Game Video
Jacques Martin
Olli Jokinen
Nathan Horton
Bryan Allen
Tomas Vokoun
Quote of the Game
"Whatever happens, you just have to bounce back, try to fight through it. It's a good message for our team (the loss) and we have to learn quickly." - Panthers captain Olli Jokinen
Panthers Stat of the Game
100% - The Panthers penalty kill units got off to a good start for the 2007-08 season as they killed off all four Ranger power play attempts on the night.
3 Stars (floridapanthers.com)
 1. Chris Drury
 2. Marek Malik
 3. Brett McLean
The Panthers were rewarded at 2:14 of the second period when Brett McLean lifted a backhander past Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game at one. The goal was set up when Gregory Campbell slid the puck from behind the net in front of the Ranger goal, where it ricochet off defenseman Brandon Dubinsky and to McLean, who scored his first goal as a Panther.

The Panthers weren’t finished. At 9:47 of the second, Nathan Horton skated into the corner, took the puck away first from a stickless Dan Girardi and then Blair Betts, before skating into the slot and wristing a shot past Lundqvist to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

The Panthers played nearly a perfect second period. They didn’t allow an odd-man rush, kept the puck away from Ranger stars Drury, Jagr and Gomez, and scored two goals while allowing the Rangers only four shots on goal.

But the Rangers tied the game at 6:07 of the third period when the Panthers turned the puck over at center ice and Petr Prucha wristed a shot high past Vokoun. Then the roof caved in on the Panthers.

“But there’s 82 games,” Allen added. “You can’t dwell on one game. You have to learn from it.”

The Panthers get a chance to learn from this experience Saturday at BankAtlantic Center when the host the Devils in their home opener.


Radek Dvorak and David Booth changed uniform numbers. Dvorak will wear No. 14 this season after wearing No. 19 during camp and Booth has turned in his No. 46 for No. 10…The Panthers opened on the road for the first time Thursday since the 2001 season. The Panthers had won their previous three opening night. Overall, the Panthers were 6-4-3 on opening nights…GM and coach Jacques Martin came into the evening with a 7-2-3 record as a head coach on opening nights…Noah Welch was the Panthers healthy scratch…Richard Zednik, nursing an injured right shoulder, skated Thursday but did not practice with the team…Former Ranger defenseman Brian Leetch dropped the ceremonial first puck..
scoring summary
1st Period
Michal Rozsival (1) ASST: Chris Drury (1), Jaromir Jagr (1)
1 - 0 NYR
2nd Period
Brett McLean (1) ASST: Gregory Campbell (1), Radek Dvorak (1)
1 - 1 Tie
Nathan Horton (1) ASST: Ruslan Salei (1), Rostislav Olesz (1)
2 - 1 FLA
3rd Period
Petr Prucha (1) ASST: Marek Malik (1)
2 - 2 Tie
Chris Drury (1) ASST: Jaromir Jagr (2), Marek Malik (2)
3 - 2 NYR
Ryan Callahan (1) ASST: NONE
4 - 2 NYR
Martin Straka (1) ASST: Marek Malik (3), Chris Drury (2)
5 - 2 NYR
penalty summary
1st Period
Ruslan Salei  Interference against  Scott Gomez
Branislav Mezei  Interference against  Petr Prucha
Martin Straka  Holding against  Brett McLean
2nd Period
Colton Orr  Interference against  Nathan Horton
Marek Malik  Hooking against  Jozef Stumpel
Branislav Mezei  Roughing against  Paul Mara
Paul Mara  Roughing against  Nathan Horton
Paul Mara  Roughing against  Nathan Horton
Nathan Horton  Tripping against  Scott Gomez
3rd Period
Branislav Mezei  Tripping against  Ryan Callahan
Olli Jokinen  Holding against  Dan Girardi
goalie stats
Tomas Vokoun
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 25TOI: 60:00
Saves: 20EV: 15 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .800SH: 0 - 0
Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 29TOI: 60:00
Saves: 27EV: 25 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 2
SV%: .931SH: 0 - 0