Panthers Stun Rangers In MSG, Earn Pivotal Game Five Win

Panthers Rangers Game Five

New York City, NY – There have been prior games in this series where it felt like the Florida Panthers had the advantage in games but failed to close them out. Tonight was just the opposite. After a Rangers shorthanded goal in the second period, the Panthers upped the aggression, capping off the game with three unanswered goals as they finally got by Igor Shesterkin in regulation, winning game five by a score of 3-2 and taking a 3-2 lead in the series.

It’s Not How You Start

If you were looking for aggressive and fast-paced hockey focusing on goal-scoring, you wouldn’t find it in the first period. Despite a pair of penalties on both teams throughout the period, the penalty killing of both squads held firm and wouldn’t budge. New York spent more time in the offensive zone, however, and controlled most of the first 20 minutes, but it was all for not.

Things got interesting in the second period. Say what you will, but Florida’s power play has been considered by many to be subpar in this series, and that was given some evidence when a tripping call on the Rangers turned into a backhander by Chris Kreider that got by Sergei Bobrovsky for a Rangers goal.

New York thrives when they break away from Florida. They just know how to make them pay, and when you have a dominant goalie like Shesterkin backing you up, that’s one deadly duo.

However, the Panthers didn’t throw in the towel early on and increased their pressure on offense. With a little over eight minutes expired in the second period, Florida got their break when a rush by Gustav Forsling and Sam Bennett was capped off with a bar-down backhander that Shesterkin couldn’t keep with for the equalizer.

Madness At Madison

If there’s one period where Florida turns the gears up to 11, it’s the third. And there was nothing different tonight as the Cats once again played some of their best hockey in crunch time.

It took some time, including a few minutes of being on the penalty kill, but the Panthers took the leads and never gave it back with 10 minutes to go, as Anton Lundell continued his heater with a wrister from long distance, getting by traffic in front of the net.

The next few minutes featured desperation on the part of New York, but Florida didn’t commit a silly penalty to give them a good advantage. Meanwhile, Bobrovsky continued his tear, denying easy opportunities.

With only minutes to go, the Rangers pulled Shesterkin in exchange for an extra attacker, but one steal by Sam Bennett was all it took to land an empty netter, giving Florida their insurance goal and sending the MSG crowd packing.

To be fair, the Rangers did get one quick goal to cut the deficit, but with seconds left to go it was all for nothing as the Cats held on to take the series lead.

NYC Has A Rat Problem

Overall, the stats were pretty even, but Florida commanded the shots on goal after the first period, ultimately collecting 37. But the biggest stat of this game might be New York’s 12 giveaways compared to just one by the Cats.

This is it. Game Six is this Saturday, June 1st, at the Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise. If Florida wins, they’ll move on to the Stanley Cup Final and take on either the Dallas Stars or Edmonton Oilers. If they lose, Game Seven will be back at the Garden on Monday, June 3rd, and will be a winner-take-all.

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