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Rangers look to continue success vs. Panthers

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Henrik Lundqvist made one save after another Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes and then enjoyed the environment of an outdoor practice in Central Park with the rest of the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Now, Lundqvist and the Rangers will seek a third straight win Sunday afternoon when they host the Florida Panthers.

Lundqvist will make his third straight start after helping the Rangers sweep a back-to-back set with Detroit and Carolina. If he gets his 454th career win, he will tie Curtis Joseph for fifth all-time. He made 35 saves in a 5-1 win on Wednesday and then turned in a season-high 45-save performance Thursday when the Rangers claimed a 4-2 win despite allowing 22 shots on goal in the first period.

“We understand what we need to do,” Rangers coach David Quinn told reporters. “I think what’s happened over the last few weeks is I think there is clarity on how we’re going to have to play to have success. We certainly didn’t do that Thursday night other than having an outstanding goaltending performance, but I think our guys are slowly realizing what we’re going to have to do night in and night out.”

Lundqvist’s last two performances occurred after backup Alexandar Georgiev started three straight games and are part of New York winning five of its last seven games. The Rangers are attempting to win three straight games for the first time this season after getting outscored 10-3 in their previous two attempts at a three-game winning streak.

New York will be without Mika Zibanejad, who will miss his sixth straight game due to an upper-body injury sustained on a hit by Boston’s Patrice Bergeron two weeks ago. Zibanejad’s 11 points led the Rangers at the time of his injury, but others are producing of late. Artemi Panarin has scored goals in three straight games and has a seven-game points streak while Ryan Strome has three goals and six of his 14 points since Zibanejad’s most recent appearance.

Besides Zibanejad, the Rangers will be without Marc Staal for at least two weeks due to ankle surgery that was necessitated by an infection on the ankle.

Florida will be playing the second part of a weekend back-to-back in New York City and hopes it goes better than Saturday. The Panthers entered this weekend after scoring four goals in three straight games and at least four goals in eight of their previous 10 games.

Florida ran into the hottest team in the league when it scored once on 38 shots in a 2-1 loss in Brooklyn to the New York Islanders, who have a point in 12 straight games. Aleksander Barkov scored a power-play goal but the Panthers allowed the tiebreaking goal 38 seconds later.

“It’s frustrating we didn’t get more than one goal,” Barkov said after also having a goal disallowed on a review due to a high stick. “We had chances … a lot of chances to score a goal. That helped us and gave us a chance to win the game but we just didn’t score enough goals.”

Barkov’s goal marked the fifth straight game with at least one power-play goal for Florida. He also has a four-game goal-scoring streak after not scoring a goal in his first 12 games.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 34 saves Saturday but backup Sam Montembault is expected to make his fourth start.

The Rangers swept the three meetings last season and are 13-2-3 in their last 18 games against Florida.

–Field Level Media

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