NHL: Barclay Goodrow scores in OT as Rangers tie series vs. Panthers

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NEW YORK — Barclay Goodrow won a defensive zone faceoff, then batted a puck out of mid-air with his stick in the neutral zone before crossing into the offensive zone.

Goodrow waited for a clean pass from Vincent Trocheck and a few seconds later, he was celebrating with his teammates near the New York Rangers bench.

Goodrow scored 14:01 into overtime and the Rangers beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 Friday night to even the Eastern Conference final at one game apiece.

Game 3 is Sunday afternoon in Sunrise, Fla. The Rangers ensured themselves of a return trip to New York for Game 5 next week thanks to Goodrow’s savvy play and game-winner.

Shortly after Igor Shesterkin stopped Sam Reinhart, Goodrow beat Kevin Stenlund on a faceoff, and defenseman Jacob Trouba moved the puck out of the left corner. As the puck bounced near the neutral zone, Goodrow used his stick to maintain possession, gave it to Trocheck and cut to the right circle.

Trocheck then made a cross-ice pass as rookie Will Cuylle cut to the net. Goodrow ripped a shot that sailed over Sergei Bobrovsky’s stick as the Florida goalie slightly came out of the crease.

“I don’t really remember exactly how it went in but I just remember Troch made a great pass to me and Cools (Cuylle) was driving to the net and opening up the lane,” Goodrow said. “So it was a great play by those two.”

“When you get a player that a coach can rely on that person, that’s a pretty useful tool in the toolbox,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said of Goodrow, who won 10 of 13 faceoffs.

It was Goodrow’s fourth goal this postseason after the checking forward scored four times in 80 regular-season games.

“Everybody knows what he brings to the team,” Trocheck said. “Every night he’s going to bring the same game. We use him in all different situations. He’s a guy that you can count on defensively. You know he’s going to bring his best effort every night, plays physical and he’s been outstanding for us on both ends of the ice.”

“It was a really nice shot,” Laviolette said.

Trocheck scored New York’s first goal of the series early in the first period. Carter Verhaeghe scored the tying goal on a power play late in the first after a penalty by Goodrow.

“I think that’s what happens when you get the two best teams in the conference,” Verhaeghe said. “It’s going to be a battle and they’re playing hard defense, we’re playing hard defense. It’s tough to get chances. It was a tight game.”

Shesterkin stopped 26 shots, including five by Ryan Lomberg and three by Reinhart.

Bobrovsky made 28 saves and was nearly beaten by Filip Chytil with nine minutes left in overtime. Chytil appeared to have a slightly open net but defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson made a timely block.

“It was a pass in the middle,” Bobrovsky said. “I don’t like to talk about the goals. He just shoots and scores.”

The Rangers started with significantly increased physicality and it eventually led to a 1-0 lead at 4:12 of the opening period.

“I thought we were sharper with everything we were doing,” Laviolette said.

Trocheck’s pass from the left boards was briefly intercepted by Verhaeghe in the slot. Verhaeghe lost the puck on a hard check by Alexis Lafreniere. Adam Fox gained possession at the right side of the crease and dished the puck to Trocheck at the left side for the tap-in into the vacated side of the net.

Florida saw its level of play improve toward the latter half of the period. Nearly a minute into Goodrow’s interference penalty, Verhaeghe cashed in.

The Panthers kept the puck alive and Verhaeghe’s shot from between the circles went past a screened Shesterkin and into the slightly vacated right side of the net.

Shesterkin kept the score tied during a span of 5:29 without a whistle by making a stick save on a partial breakaway by Brandon Montour with about 8 1/2 minutes left in the second period. Florida nearly went ahead with 2:48 left but Aleksander Barkov hit the post off a give-and-go.

Barkov nearly scored during a four-on-four but Shesterkin came out of the crease for the stop a little over a minute into the third. Reinhart also nearly scored but his shot hit the side of the net with 10:13 left in the third. A little over two minutes later, Shesterkin denied a wrister by Lomberg.

–Larry Fleisher, Field Level Media

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