Returning to the home ice of The Garden, following a disappointing West Coast road trip, the Rangers rebounded Monday night, beating the Florida Panthers, 4-2. Rick Nash scored his first goal since December 30th, and Henrik Lundqvist, after going 0-3-2 in his last five starts, made 25 saves for the victory.
After going 1-1-1 on their road trip, including a bad loss to San Jose Saturday, and with the Pittsburgh Penguins creeping up the standings, the Blueshirts needed a win Monday to keep 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, and got it.
Viktor Stalberg put the Rangers on top 11:15 into the 1st period, finishing off a 2-on-1 with Dominic Moore and putting the puck past Al Montoya for his 9th goal of the season.
Zuccarello made it 2-0 in the 2nd period with a powerplay goal at 3:33. Zuccarello took a pass from Derick Brassard, spun, and put a wrist shot past Montoya.
The Panthers cut it to 2-1 early in the 3rd period when Vincent Trocheck scored his 23rd of the season at 6:51. Nash made it 3-1 at 11:14, taking a perfect pass from Kevin Klein and blasting a one-timer past Montoya.
Jiri Hudler made it 3-2 at 19:24, with Montoya pulled for an extra attacker. But 27 seconds later, Tanner Glass scored an empty-net goal with :09 to play for the final 4-2 margin.
With nine regular season games to go, the Rangers [now 41-24-8, 90 pts] host the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at The Garden.