Final SO

Series (Game 4 of 4)

New York leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, October 17th
Panthers0Final
Rangers4
Game 2: Wednesday, November 9th
Rangers4Final
SO
Panthers3
Game 3: Saturday, January 7th
Panthers0Final
Rangers4
Game 4: Friday, March 24th
Rangers2Final
SO
Panthers3

Rangers 2

(39-20-11, 89 pts)

Panthers 3

(31-30-9, 71 pts)

7:30 PM ET, March 24, 2006

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 SO T
NYR 1 1 0 02
FLA 0 2 0 13

O. Jokinen (Panthers - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

R. Luongo (Panthers - G): Saves: 26, Save Pct.: .929

N. Horton (Panthers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Jagr nets 50th goal but Rangers fall to Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Two teams with playoff hopes each improved their chances.

Olli Jokinen scored in the third round of a shootout to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night in a game that saw Jaromir Jagr become the NHL's first 50-goal scorer since 2002-03.

Petr Sykora scored for New York in the shootout, but Michael Nylander and Jagr missed. Nathan Horton also scored for Florida and Jozef Stumpel missed.

After Jagr's shot went just wide, Jokinen put the puck through Kevin Weekes legs for the deciding goal.

"He (Jokinen) usually goes glove but he made that five-hole cross body move," Weekes said. "A shootout is a great way to win, but a tough way to lose."

It Jokinen's fifth shootout goal.

"We deserved a good two points," Jokinen said. "We knew if we kept working hard we would get our chances."

The Panthers closed within five points of Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with their eighth victory in nine games.

"It was one of the most exciting games I've ever played in," said Luongo, who was able to force Jagr's shot wide of the net in the shootout. "I really didn't stop him, I think he just ran out of room. He's got so many good moves. You just close your eyes and hope the puck doesn't go in."

The Rangers earned a point to move a point ahead of Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division.

"Right now that could be an extremely valuable point," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "Tonight, it is."

Jagr opened the scoring with 5:27 left in the first period.

Jagr skated in front and drew Luongo out of the crease, then moved toward the left circle and shot the puck behind Luongo.

"I faked the shot to see what the goalie was going to do and then I hit the net," Jagr said.

The Czech star scored 50 goals for the third time in his career and became only the third player in Rangers history to accomplish the feat. Vic Hadfield had 50 in 1971-72, and Adam Graves scored 52 goals in 1993-94.

Jagr had a career-high 62 goals in 82 games for Pittsburgh in 1995-96 and had 52 in 81 games in 2000-01, his final season with the Penguins. In 2003-04, he had 31 goals in 77 games for Washington and the Rangers. He has played 70 games this season.

Jagr also is the first player to score 50 goals in a season since Milan Hejduk had 50 for Colorado in 2002-03. Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Nashville's Rick Nash tied for the league lead with 41 in 2003-04, the last season before the lockout.

"First, we have to make the playoffs," Jagr said. "Any point right now is huge."

Sykora also scored in regulation for New York and Weekes had 40 saves. Horton and Gregory Campbell scored for the Panthers and Roberto Luongo had 26 saves.

Florida tied it at 1 on a power play at 15:40 of the second. Jon Sim passed off the boards to Horton in the left circle. His shot trickled under the pads of Weekes. The Panthers took a 2-1 lead about 2 minutes later when Campbell's slap shot from the left circle went between Weekes legs.

"I don't know if it was a good shot or just a quick shot but I might have fooled him," Campbell said.

New York tied it at 2 on a power play with 11 seconds left in the second. Sykora shot from inside the blue line on the right side and the puck got past Luongo.

Game notes


Stumpel has seven goals and eight assists in his last 10 games. ... The Panthers have won just three of their last 15 against the Rangers. ... New York's Martin Rucinsky broke a finger on his right hand.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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