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Panthers prevent NYR from clinching playoff spot

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm •  Published: April 23, 2013

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The New York Rangers missed a prime opportunity to secure a playoff spot.

Marcel Goc and Drew Shore scored third-period goals, and the Florida Panthers prevented the Rangers from clinching an Eastern Conference playoff berth with a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Goc broke a tie, and Drew Shore added a short-handed, empty-net goal to give Florida a 3-1 lead before the Rangers got back within a goal.

Tomas Fleischmann netted the first goal of the game and added an assist, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 36 shots for the Panthers, who have the fewest points in the NHL and snapped a six-game losing streak.

Derick Brassard and Taylor Pyatt scored for the Rangers (24-18-4) and Henrik Lundqvist made 13 saves. New York, the eighth-place team in the East, could have gotten back into the playoffs with a win after Winnipeg lost earlier Tuesday.

"That's good news. The only good news we got tonight," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "But we don't want to back in. We'll get back to work and still control our fate if we win. That's all we can ask for."

The Rangers, who had won three straight, have a one-point lead over Winnipeg with two games left. The Jets have one game remaining.

The Rangers had scored 18 goals in their previous three wins but were stymied by the Panthers defense and Markstrom.

New York pulled Lundqvist for an extra skater after the Rangers received a late power play. But Shore scored into the empty net with 1:23 left.

His shot from the left circle in his own zone went into the net from about 120 feet away. It was Shore's first point in 18 games and first goal in 22.

"I'll take it at this point," Shore said. "It's been a disappointing year offensively but it feels good to win a game, especially at home against a good playoff team."

Brassard scored with 33 seconds left for the Rangers, but Markstrom blocked two shots in the final seconds to seal the win — his second over New York this season.

"Beating anybody is really good. I don't have that many wins so hopefully we can build on that and get a couple more before the year ends," Markstrom said.

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