After a rough week and a win where they earned just one goal, the New York Rangers knew they needed to get goals as they enter the final act of the regular season, as well as the playoffs.
They earned some scoring from a guy many Rangers fans would call the most unlikely of sources, perhaps overshadowing more milestones from Henrik Lundqvist.
Tanner Glass, recently called up to the lineup, had a goal and an assist, while Lundqvist made 43 saves, and the Rangers took a 5-2 victory from the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at BB&T Center.
Capturing his 30th win of the season, Lundqvist now has 30 wins in 11 of his 12 seasons (the lone outlier being the lockout shortened 2013 season) and now has more wins than any goaltender achieved through his first 12 seasons. In addition, he also passes Grant Fuhr for sole possession of 10th place on the all-time goalie wins list.
The Rangers (43-22-2) got off to a fast start on the game, nabbing two goals. Chris Kreider opened the scoring with his 25th of the season, with Steven Kampfer earning his first Rangers point by getting the primary assist. Less than four minutes later, Glass got his moment to shine, tipping an Oscar Lindberg shot for the 2-0 Rangers lead. It was Glass’s first goal since March 21 of last season, also against Florida.
The New York onslaught continued in the second period, much to the delight of a well-traveled Ranger crowd in Sunrise. Kevin Hayes kept it going, scoring on a breakaway for a 3-0 lead. Florida briefly drew closer when Thomas Vanek scored his first goal as a Panther, but the Rangers retook control when Nick Holden put his 10th of the year past James Reimer, forcing him out of the net, replaced by Reto Berra.
Florida (29-25-11) applied the pressure in the third period, posting 22 shots, but Lundqvist stopped all but one, the single exception being Aaron Ekblad’s power play goal. Pavel Buchnevich scored an empty netter to cap things off, and the Rangers emerged victorious.
Having won a game each in their season set thus far, the two teams will have a rubber match on March 17 at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers will conclude the Southeastern part of their road trip on Thursday, as they travel to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes (7:00, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490