As I am an avid Devils fan, I am quite happy about this lovely turn of events.

-The Poliblogger

Panthers – 3   Rangers – 1

Rangers Fall to Panthers – NYTimes.com.

By JEFF Z. KLEIN Published: March 21, 2013

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The Rangers, the lowest-scoring team in the Eastern Conference, figured to get a boost by playing the last-place Florida Panthers, whose defense is the worst in the league and who were missing nine regulars to injury.

 

But instead of fattening their scoring totals, the Rangers ended their two-game winning streak with a thud, 3-1, amid a chorus of loud boos Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

The loss was reminiscent of their ugly loss to the dismal Buffalo Sabres on March 12, a result that left Coach John Tortorella nearly apoplectic with frustration and rage.

On this night, Tortorella was calm, but rueful.

“I think it was two to one in minutes as far as zone time,” he said. “We outchanced them, two to one, but we’re still not creating enough offense with that amount of time in that zone. We need another key play at a key time, and we’re just not getting it.”

The Rangers did not light the scoreboard until Marian Gaborik scored with 3 minutes 48 seconds left in the game, even though they outshot the Panthers, 45-24.

“No team plays well all the time, but the good teams find a way to win,” goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. “That’s what we’re lacking this year.”

The Rangers fell from eighth place to ninth, behind the Devils, out of a playoff berth, with more than 60 percent of the season gone. At the equivalent point last season, they led the East.

To make matters potentially worse for the Rangers, Rick Nash may face a disciplinary hearing with the N.H.L. after an ugly check with less than six minutes to go. Nash left his feet and hit the Panthers’ Tomas Kopecky from behind in the head with his elbow, knocking Kopecky’s helmet off and leaving him momentarily dazed. No penalty was called, but the league could suspend Nash.

Nash, Gaborik and Brad Richards, the top line, were thwarted most of the night by miscues, fanned shots and mistimed passes, and by the 44 saves of Florida’s third-string goalie, Jacob Markstrom.

“It’s frustrating no matter who you’re losing to,” said Ryan Callahan, dismissing the notion that the Rangers underestimated the Panthers.

He still could not quite seem to believe that the Rangers had managed only one goal.

“We had 40-something shots on net — you do that on a nightly basis, you’re going to get more than one goal easily,” Callahan said.

The recall of wing Chris Kreider from Connecticut, where he scored six goals in the last eight games, did not bolster the attack. His linemates, Brian Boyle and J. T. Miller, combined for seven shots, but Kreider had none.

Gaborik’s late goal drew the Rangers to within 2-1, and they were given a power play with 1:02 left. But with Lundqvist pulled from the net and the Rangers holding a six-on-four advantage, Kopecky shot the puck into the empty goal to seal the victory.

Brian Campbell gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 8:22 of the first period, while Roman Hamrlik was in the penalty box. Scottie Upshall made the score 2-0 at 4:28 of the second period by swatting in a rebound during a goalmouth scramble.

“It’s getting old,” Lundqvist said. “We’re not getting it done.”

The Rangers’ next game is Sunday at the Garden versus Washington, another struggling team.

SLAP SHOTS

In the first period, the referee Jean Hebert was accidentally clipped in the mouth by the stick of Rangers forward Carl Hagelin as the Panthers were called for icing. Hebert had his mouth dabbed to stop the bleeding at the Rangers’ bench, then returned to the corner of the rink to retrieve his tooth, which was lying on the ice. He calmly picked it up, skated it back to the Rangers’ bench and the trainer Jim Ramsay for safekeeping, and took up his position for the ensuing face-off.