Alex Wennberg’s OT goal lifts Rangers over Panthers

Alex Wennberg scored 5:35 into overtime as the New York Rangers outlasted the Florida Panthers for a 5-4 victory Sunday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final in Sunrise, Fla.

New York leads the series two games to one. Game 4 is Tuesday.

After losing an offensive zone faceoff to Evan Rodrigues with 14:32 left, Wennberg cut to the net. Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov lost the puck to Kappo Kakko, who moved it to Ryan Lindgren.

Lindgren ripped a shot from the left point that hit the middle of Wennberg’s stick in front of the net and deflected over Sergei Bobrovsky.

Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow scored two goals apiece for the Rangers, who needed Wennberg’s goal after blowing a 4-2 lead.

Aleksander Barkov and Gustav Forsling scored 1:54 apart in the third when Florida controlled the offensive zone and erased a two-goal deficit. The Panthers were unable to score on a late power play and nearly won it when Matthew Tkachuk cut in alone and was denied by Igor Shesterkin’s blocker save.

Lafreniere and Goodrow scored 25 seconds apart in the first period and the duo tallied 2:51 apart in the second to give New York a two-goal lead.

Sam Reinhart scored two power-play goals in the first period for the Panthers.

Bobrovsky made 18 saves while Shesterkin stopped 34 shots.

After allowing Goodrow’s shorthanded goal, the Panthers stormed back and got within 4-3 when Barkov re-directed a pass by Carter Verhaeghe with 14:56 remaining. Florida tied it with 13:02 left when Forsling’s shot from the left circle sailed over Shesterkin.

Before Florida’s comeback, Lafreniere finished off an end-to-end rush to snap a 2-2 tie with 4:37 left in the second and Goodrow beat Bobrovsky with a shot from the left circle while the Rangers were killing off a four-minute power play.

–Larry Fleisher, Field Level Media