NHL

Rangers win NHL East Final Game 3 in OT

By Sports Desk May 26, 2024

Alex Wennberg scored 5:35 into overtime to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 series lead on the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final with a thrilling 5-4 win on Sunday.

Wennberg deflected a shot from teammate Ryan Lindgren past Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky to move the President's Trophy-winning Rangers within two victories of the Stanley Cup Final, despite the Panthers recording a 37-23 shot advantage for the game.

New York was able to get another standout performance from Igor Shesterskin, however, as well as two goals each from Alexis Lafreniere and Game 2 hero Barclay Goodrow. Shesterskin made 33 saves to outplay Russian counterpart Bobrovsky, who stopped just 18 of 23 shots. 

Sam Reinhart had a pair of power-play goals for the Atlantic Division-champion Panthers, who trailed 4-2 after two periods before forcing overtime on goals by Aleksander Barkov and Gustav Forsling in the third.

Florida will attempt to even the series when it hosts Game 4 on Tuesday.

The Rangers registered the two lone goals of the second period - a highlight-reel score from Lafreniere and a short-handed tally by Goodrow - to snap a 2-2 tie, but the Panthers roared back with a dominant third period in which they outshot New York by a 13-4 margin.

Barkov tipped in a shot from Carter Verhaeghe 5:04 into the period to get Florida within 4-3. Less than two minutes later, Forsling skated in untouched before ripping a shot by Shesterskin to tie the contest. 

After the series opened with a pair of low-scoring games, each team scored twice during the first period Reinhart began by depositing a backhand into the Rangers' net with Florida on a power play 2:50 in.

Lafreniere and Goodrow scored 25 seconds apart to send the Rangers ahead with under eight minutes elapsed, but Reinhart knocked in another backhander with the Panthers on the power play to forge a 2-2 tie with 5:14 left in the period.

New York regained the lead when Lafreniere split two Florida defenders before slipping a shot under Bobrovsky's pad with 4:37 left in the second. The Panthers had a golden chance to pull even soon afterward, though, when Rangers' defenseman Jacob Trouba was called for a double-minor penalty 2:25 before the second intermission.

Florida failed to control the puck on the ensuing power play, however, and Vincent Trocheck fed Goodrow - who scored the game-winner in New York's 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2 - for a one-timer that extended the lead to 4-2.

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    Florida carried a 4-1 lead into the third period, but Philip Broberg scored at 6:02 and Ryan McLeod made it a one-goal game with 5:17 remaining.

    The Oilers, however, could not beat Sergei Bobrovsky again and now face the daunting task of trying to win four straight games to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada for the first time since 1993 – months before the Panthers’ inaugural season.

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    Bobrovsky finished with 32 saves to win his sixth straight start. He allowed more than two goals for the first time during that span.

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