New York Rangers (19-19-2) at Florida Panthers (15-20-5)
|Date & Time||Tuesday December 31, 2013, 5:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Florida Panthers -105 / New York Rangers -105 --- Over/Under: 5
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The New York Rangers couldn't have seen two better things than what they got on Sunday night in Tampa Bay against the Lightning. Not only did Rick Nash score a first period goal for New York but they also got a stellar third period from Henrik Lundqvist as the goaltender won in his return to the lineup after sitting out three straight games. Nash's goal came off a beautiful feed from Derek Stepan after a Lightning turnover but the goal has to help his confidence moving forward here. Tampa Bay would score the next two goals and takebut the Rangers would respond by going 3-for-3 on the man advantage on their way to a 4-3 win. Benoit Pouliot continued his hot play with a goal and Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider added goals as well for New York. It's good to see Zuccarello and Kreider continue their strong play and if the Rangers can get Nash going and Lundqvist back to his old self they'll have a great chance at making a serious run here over the second half of the year. Lundqvist wasn't dominant in this one but he stood tall and made saves when he needed to in the third period with the team under siege and that has to be a big boost for him after his recent struggles. The Rangers will head to Florida to take on a Panthers club that snapped a three game losing streak with a win over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night. Brian Campbell broke a 1-1 tie in the second period with his fifth goal of the season and Aleksander Barkov and Sean Bergenheim sealed the victory for the Panthers. Dmitry Kulikov opened the scoring in the opening frame with his second goal of the year. Scott Clemmensen recorded his fifth win of the season as he tries to assert himself as the No. 1 goaltender for the Panthers. Goaltending has been awful for the Panthers so it's hard to see them improving to the point where they can get back to respectability but at least their young forwards make them watchable most nights. The Rangers are 6-2 the last eight meetings in this series but the home team is 7-3 the last 10.