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Panthers aim to continue surge vs. Rangers

NY Rangers (30-20-5) at Florida (27-19-8) 7:30 p.m. EST

SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- The Florida Panthers have been one

of the hottest teams in the NHL since the All-Star break,

posting a 6-2-0 record to vault itself into the Eastern

Conference playoff picture.

Florida hosts a team hoping to prevent a second-half freefall

when it takes on the New York Rangers on Friday.

Coming off a dramatic, 5-4 overtime win over Toronto on Tuesday,

the Panthers crushed the Hurricanes, 5-0, on Thursday to

distance themselves from their divisional rival in the playoff

race. Florida sits in a tie for eighth place with 62 points,

three points clear of Carolina and Pittsburgh.

Tomas Vokoun made 42 saves for his fourth shutout of the season

and 29th of his career and five different players scored as

Florida won for the sixth time in eight games.

The Panthers have won four straight at home and beat the Rangers

4-0 in New York on November 30.

New York halted a season-worst, five-game losing streak (0-4-1)

with a 5-4 shootout win over Washington on Wednesday. The

Rangers had scored five goals during the recent slide, including

a pair of shutout losses.

Lauri Korpikoski and Ryan Callahan recorded a goal and an assist

apiece and Callahan netted the game-winner in the shootout as

New York improved to 9-3 in the bonus format.

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