The New York Rangers gave up too many goals in their last game for a furious late comeback to matter. They'll look to bounce back against an opponent that didn't generate much offense against them last season.
The Rangers go for their fourth straight win over the last-place Florida Panthers on Friday night at BankAtlantic Center.
New York (12-10-1) fell behind 5-0 late in the second period against Tampa Bay on Wednesday before waking up in the third. The Rangers got goals from Steve Eminger, Brian Boyle and Derek Stepan in the final 20 minutes, but their uninspired play in the first 40 led to a 5-3 loss.
"We just looked brain dead through the first part of the game," said Rangers coach John Tortorella, whose team had won two straight and five of seven. "Why? I don't know."
The Rangers have trailed after the first period three times -- all losses -- this season.
Of bigger concern for New York than Wednesday's defeat was another rough game for Henrik Lundqvist in his return to the net. Lundqvist, who allowed five goals on 34 shots, sat while backup Martin Biron started the previous two games after Biron replaced him in a 5-1 loss at Colorado last Friday.
"It seems like when he's played, we haven't played very well in front of him and it's not fair for him," center Brandon Dubinsky said.
Lundqvist has gone 1-4-0 with a 3.74 goals-against average in his last five games.
If he gets the start Friday, he should be very happy to see Florida. Lundqvist is 10-5-1 with a 1.89 GAA and three shutouts against the Panthers in his career.
He helped New York dominate the season series in 2010-11, as the Rangers won the last three games while giving up one goal each time. Lundqvist started all four matchups.
He also would be facing a Florida team that has struggled to score recently. The Panthers (9-11-0) lost 3-1 to Boston on Wednesday and have dropped two in a row and four of six, totaling five goals in the defeats.
Steve Reinprecht put Florida up 1-0 going into the third period, but the Panthers lost for the first time in nine games in which they led after 40 minutes.
Florida was outshot 18-6 in the third, a surge sparked by the Bruins' short-handed goal eight seconds in after Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun mishandled the puck.
"They got a lucky break," center Stephen Weiss said. "Then we had a little bit of a sag, and they get one right away. Then we didn't have a response."
Florida didn't have a response in a nearly identical situation in the last meeting with New York on April 3 at BankAtlantic. The Panthers led 1-0 going into the third, but gave up Marc Staal's goal 18 seconds in and lost 4-1.
Vokoun has dropped his last two starts versus the Rangers after winning three straight.
New York defenseman Michal Rozsival could return Friday after missing the last eight games because of a strained shoulder.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.