SUNRISE, Fla. – Olli Jokinen showed off one of the new shootout moves that he has been telling his teammates all about.
And he performed it to perfection. Jokinen scored the only goal of the shootout and Tomas Vokoun made 28 saves, giving the Florida Panthers a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers before a sellout crowd of 19,250 on Friday night.
“It sounds funny, but for the first time in my life I was practising all summer and I told a couple guys I’ve got some new moves,” Jokinen said. “They asked me to show them those moves and I said I’ll wait for a game. I don’t think I’ve scored one in practice doing my old stuff.”
Each team missed four shots before Jokinen’s wrist shot beat New York goalie Stephen Valiquette. Chris Drury, who scored twice for the Rangers in regulation, missed on New York’s ensuing turn.
Stephen Weiss and David Booth also scored for the Panthers, who have won four of five.
“I think we played the best game we’ve played all year,” Vokoun said. “We got some great chances. Their goalie played great.”
Valiquette stopped 33 shots in his second start of the season for New York, which had its five-game road win streak ended.
“Jokinen just got off a good shot,” Valiquette said. “It was one of those things. I never lost my focus, he just managed to get it past me.”
Steve Montador scored at 2:20 of overtime, but Richard Zednik was called for hooking just before the shot was made. Later, Florida’s Jozef Stumpel had a shot bounce off the post with 47 seconds left.
New York tied it on a power play at 16:10. With five minutes left in regulation, the Rangers had a 5-on-3 for 1:07. The Panthers killed off the first penalty but New York made it two-all on Drury’s second goal of the game.
Scott Gomez passed the puck from Vokoun’s left to Drury at the right of the crease, and Drury poked in the puck.
“It was certainly nice to chip in, but it would also have been nice to extend the shootout,” Drury said. “We came down here and got the point, so we can build on that.”
The Rangers missed a chance to take the lead when Jaromir Jagr’s shot bounced off the post with 2:04 left in regulation.
“We had a little bit of luck with us tonight,” Vokoun said. “The puck didn’t go in. It could have been disaster.”
The Panthers took their first lead on Weiss’ power-play goal at 1:06 of the third. Weiss skated through the left circle with the puck. At the bottom of the circle he swept the puck back toward the net. It went between Valiquette’s legs to make it 2-1.
“We just chipped away the whole night,” Weiss said.
Florida tied it at one at 10:53 of the second. Booth brought the puck across the left circle and into the point. He backhanded a shot that caromed off the right post and slid across the goal line.
The Rangers scored first with 7.7 seconds left in the first period. Michal Rozsival took a shot from above the right circle. It was blocked, but Drury was at the point for the rebound. His put back just got passed Vokoun’s right skate and into the net.
Valiquette had a busy first period, stopping 19 shots, including several glove saves. The Rangers took only six shots in the first.
“He (Valiquette) was terrific,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “He stood tall and gave us a chance to get two points. We managed to come away with one and that’s something.”
Notes: New York’s Marek Malik has missed the last 11 games with bruised ribs. … Florida’s Ruslan Salei played in his 700th career game. … Florida coach Jacques Martin tied Doug MacLean for most wins as a Panther coach (83). … Florida D Mike Van Ryn was scratched due to a wrist injury.