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