Zednik, Vokoun lift Panthers past Rangers in shootout

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SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- Richard Zednik has had quite a

heroic week.

Zednik scored the lone goal of the shootout and Tomas Vokoun

made 34 saves as the Florida Panthers posted their third

consecutive victory, a 2-1 triumph over the New York Rangers on


After three scoreless rounds of the bonus format, Zednik beat

All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist between the pads with a

snap shot to give the Panthers the edge.

"I hadn't given (Zednik) the opportunity (to be in a shootout),

but he's had the hot hand for us lately," Florida coach Peter

DeBoer said. "He came in on (Lundqvist) and really buried it."

"It just feels good to be out on the ice right now," Zednik

said. "The bottom line is, I have the confidence to go out

there and help the team win."

Rookie Michael Frolik scored in regulation for the Panthers, who

have gone 12-3-3 thus far in 2009.

Lundqvist stopped 42 shots and Fredrik Sjostrom tallied for New

York, which has lost six of its last seven contests (1-4-2).

"It's really frustrating. In a shootout, you're relying on the

goalie," Lundqvist said. "We worked really hard tonight and

played pretty good."

After scoring the tying goal late in the third period and the

winner in overtime in a 5-4 triumph over Toronto on Tuesday,

Zednik gave Florida the victory in this one with his first

shootout goal of the season. The 33-year-old Slovakian

surprised Lundqvist with a quick shot from the slot.

"I wasn't really thinking about the shot I was going to take,"

said Zednik, who had scored four goals over the previous four

games. "I saw his legs open a little and decided to get off a

quick shot. He got a piece of it, but I managed to get it past


Vokoun then stopped Nikolai Zherdev's backhand attempt to secure

the win for the Panthers, who matched their season high for

shots in a game. Vokoun also denied Markus Naslund and Ryan

Callahan in the bonus format, while Nigel Dawes hit the goalpost

on his opportunity.

"I thought that this was one of our best games of the year,"

Vokoun said. "Coming back from that big win last night (at

Carolina), we didn't want to have a letdown and managed to get

two more big points."

"(Vokoun) was awesome," Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard said.

"He kept us in it and gave us a chance to win."

Sjostrom opened the scoring with 2:46 left in the first period,

banging a rebound past Vokoun after Blair Betts deked a defender

and fired an off-angle shot on net.

"We needed to generate more (scoring chances), naturally. It's

just something that we'll continue to work on," New York coach

Tom Renney said. "We were pushing the puck up the walls and

making our forechecks, but in the end, we just didn't get enough


The Panthers evened the contest at 1-1 just 2:37 into the second

session as Frolik netted his 13th goal of the season.

Cory Stillman intercepted Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival's

pass behind the net and dished the puck to Frolik, who unleashed

a turnaround wrist shot that sailed between the pads of


Lundqvist helped New York escape with a point, robbing Nathan

Horton midway through the third period. With Florida on a power

play, Horton collected a rebound with an open net in front of

him, but Lundqvist made a sprawling save to keep the game tied.

"(Vokoun) was our best player and Lundqvist was their best

player," DeBoer said. "Both goalies made some game-saving plays

out there tonight."



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