SUNRISE — The New York Rangers sleepwalked their way through a first period in which the Florida Panthers scored twice in the opening 20.
It did not feel like enough at the time and it was not.
The Rangers found a hangover cure during the first intermission as they dominated Florida then got the go-ahead goal early in the third as they handed the Panthers their third straight loss, this one 4-3 at a split FLA Live Arena.
New York has every right to celebrate on their trips to the Beach; the Rangers have won eight of 10.
Florida literally skated circles around the Rangers in that first period, outshooting them 12-3 and shutting down three power play chances without much pushback.
The Panthers got a 2-0 lead out of it, only it felt like they needed more.
One could surmise the Rangers would snap out of their funk — perhaps with the aid of some local coffee served in little cups — and they certainly did.
Florida got its lead with goals from Sasha Barkov and Ryan Lomberg with Anthony Duclair getting an assist on the first one even though he did a ton of work to make the second one happen.
In the second, New York outshot the Panthers 21-8 and tied the score on Alexis Lafreniere’s goal from the right circle with 1:45 left.
New York took the lead at 1:22 of the third when Patrick Kane put one past Sergei Bobrovsky with a shot off the stick of Carter Verhaeghe.
The Rangers made it 4-2 at 6:18 of the third when a puck coming into the zone hopped over the stick of Aaron Ekblad and right onto the stick of Filip Chytil who walked in on Bobrovsky and scored.
That kind of day.
Barkov ended up getting his second of the night moments later to cut it to 4-3 but Florida got no closer.
With just nine games left, the Panthers are certainly watching the scoreboard to see how things shake out in the playoff race.
Until they start winning again, it will not matter what anyone else does.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Panthers 1, Rangers 0 (9:15, 1st) Sasha Barkov hops on a loose puck like a dog on a bone and this was a juicy one. Just sitting there.
- Panthers 2, Rangers 0 (14:46): Anthony Duclair does a real nice job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone then works it off the half wall where Ryan Lomberg smashes it from the left circle.
- Panthers 2, Rangers 1 (8:50, 2nd): The Rangers were on Florida from the start of the second and finally get something past Sergei Bobrovsky as Kaapo Kakko knocks in a loose puck as Florida’s D watched.
- Rangers 2, Panthers 2 (18:15, 2nd): Florida leaves Alexis Lafreniere alone on the right side and he ties it at 2.
- Rangers 3, Panthers 2 (1:22, 3rd): Patrick Kane throws up a shot from just off the wall and it clips the stick of Carter Verhaeghe and past Bobrovsky for New York’s first lead of the night.
- Rangers 4, Panthers 2 (6:18, 3rd): Aaron Ekblad cannot intercept a pass into the Florida zone that hits Filip Chytil’s stick as he walks in on Bobrovsky and seemingly puts the Panthers out of it.
- Rangers 4, Panthers 3 (7:00, 3rd): But wait, there’s Barkov. He takes a pass from Sam Reinhart from behind the net and knocks it in.
FHN’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. Filip Chytil, New York
2. Sasha Barkov, Florida
3. Kaapo Kakko, New York
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT OTTAWA SENATORS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Canadian Tire Center, Ottawa
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Season Series (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 5, Senators 3 (Oct. 29)
- Last season: Florida won 3-1
- All-time regular season series: Ottawa leads 56-43-5, 3 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Florida at Toronto, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.