Rapid Reaction: Rangers 1, Panthers 0

March, 22, 2011
3/22/11
9:24
PM ET
NEW YORK--Here's a quick take on the Rangers 1-0 win over the Panthers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Rangers won their fifth straight game, continuing their longest win streak of the season, and are creeping closer and closer to assuring themselves of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are even putting themselves in contention for the No. 6 seed in the playoffs with their win streak, as they trailed Montreal by just five points entering Tuesday's game.

LUCKY NO. 31: On their 31st shot, the Rangers finally found a way to get in the scoring column. With a few men perched in front of the goal, and Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun leaning to his left, Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky blasted the puck into the back of the net to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 12:11 remaining in the game.

HENRIK! HENRIK!: He didn't get tested until the final minute of regulation when the Panthers pulled their goalie, but Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 10th shutout of the season, extending his league-leading total. He stopped 22 shots as he tied his career-high mark in shutouts, previously accomplished in 2007-08. Lundqvist is now 7-1 in the last eight games.

BACK TO EARTH: After scoring 33 goals in their past seven games, the Rangers offense cooled off against the Panthers. The Blue Shirts scored their fewest goals since March 4, a 3-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild.

SNOOZE YORK: Let’s just say this game didn’t exactly galvanize the crowd. The first two period were about as exciting as watching the Zamboni go up and down the ice. Actually, the Zamboni might have provided more excitement. This game had no pace or rhythm and the action-packed moments were few and far between. The fans didn't get truly loud until the Rangers took their lead in the third period.

UP NEXT: The Rangers host last-place Ottawa Thursday night at MSG before hitting the road for a four-game road trip.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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