Created: 11/10/2013 10:05 PM WHEC.com
(AP) NEW YORK - Brad Richards snapped a tie in the opening minute of the third period, and the surging New York Rangers handed the Florida Panthers their ninth straight loss with a 4-3 victory on Sunday night.
Richards snapped a shot past goalie Tim Thomas 46 seconds in, and punched the glass in celebration of his first goal in nine games. New York then held on for its third consecutive win and sixth in seven games.
Mats Zuccarello made it 4-2 at 6:16 during the Rangers’ two-man power play, off a pass from Richards, and J.T. Miller and Derek Dorsett also scored for New York (9-8), which went over .500 for the first time this season.
Brian Campbell scored his second of the game to cut Florida’s deficit to 4-3 with 7:03 left.
Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves, but the Rangers had their nine-game streak of holding opponents under three goals broken at nine.
Aleksander Barkov had the other goal for the Panthers, who dropped to 0-5-4 in their past nine and 0-2 under interim coach Peter Horachuk.
Thomas, in his second straight start after returning from injury, stopped 25 shots. He also took a roughing penalty when he punched Miller in the head after Miller crashed into him.
The Panthers, who have been desperate for a win, had the better moments of the second and put lots of pressure on the Rangers _ and Lundqvist in particular _ and grabbed a lead, albeit brief.
Much of the period was played at a chaotic pace with chances missed at both ends. Campbell scored his first goal of the season and notched his 400th NHL point with the help of a fortunate bounce.
Campbell took a pass at the left point and fired a drive that struck the left post, caromed off Lundqvist’s backside, and went in with 9:01 left in the second.
That came just 21 seconds after Thomas stopped Miller at the other end.
The Rangers dug the puck out from behind the Florida net, and Dorsett pushed it into Thomas at the left post. The rebound came back out to Dorsett and he shoved the puck into the net with 6:02 remaining in the second for his second of the season.
New York grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first after forcing a turnover in the neutral zone. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh took a pass from Miller and deftly maneuvered the puck between Panthers, before handing it off to Chris Kreider, who quickly found Miller alone on the left side for a shot into the open left side of the net at 9:49.
Thomas kept the Panthers within a goal by making several tough saves on the 11 shots he faced in the period. That allowed Florida to get even in the closing seconds with a rare power-play goal.
The Panthers kept pressure on the Rangers as they pushed to tie the game. Two shots in close were stopped by Lundqvist, but the second by Kris Versteeg rebounded over to the 18-year-old Barkov, who scored inside the right post with 26.1 seconds left in the first. Barkov, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, has four goals in his first 18 NHL games.
NOTES: Barkov’s power-play goal was just the sixth for the Panthers this season in their first 61 chances, the worst percentage in the 30-team NHL. ... Rangers captain Ryan Callahan knocked Florida forward Scottie Upshall over the boards and into the New York bench during the second period. ... Florida C Scott Gomez missed his second straight game and third in four because of a groin injury.