Zednik, Vokoun lift Panthers past Rangers in shootout

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

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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.”