New York Rangers [600x600]
New York Rangers [600x600] (Credit: Icon Sportswire)

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SUNRISE, Fla. -- The New York Rangers needed a timeout.


New York held a two-goal lead entering the third period in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Florida Panthers on Sunday and the Panthers were taking it to their opponent. Florida was dominating New York in all three zones, and when the Panthers tied the game 4-4, Rangers' coach Peter Laviolette knew his group had to take a breath.

He called for a stoppage. Talked things out on the bench. And New York went back to work with renewed vigor, leaning on a terrific performance from goaltender Igor Shesterkin to get out of that final frame tied. The Rangers went on to win 5-4 in overtime on Alex Wennberg's tally.

It was the Rangers' second overtime win in a row. They lead Florida in the best-of-seven series 2-1.

"The third was probably our toughest go in the series so far," Laviolette said. "We're up 4-2, we're under siege, they were able to capitalize, and that was by far their best period. It was a pretty even game going into the third period. They got [a goal], got another one, the building was into it. So it was moving in their direction. We came out of the timeout and had three or four good shifts in a row. But they got it into overtime. Shesterkin had to make a few big saves for us. And then [came] a big goal for us in overtime to win it."

Shesterkin was the Rangers' backbone in a vital road win. He put in his best performance of the postseason to steal the victory while Florida threw everything it had toward the net, edging the Rangers 38-23 in shots and outchancing them 94-35 in regulation.

Some saves were more impactful than others. Shesterkin made an incredible stop on Panthers' forward Sam Reinhart with 35 seconds left in the regulation to get New York out of the third and into a fresh overtime slate.

New York is 4-0 in overtime in the postseason.

"[Shesterkin] was our best player tonight," center Vincent Trocheck said. "When you have a guy back there like that, you have a lot of confidence in him. He stole this game late."

Shesterkin put on a monstrous performance early in overtime as well to keep Florida at bay. That allowed Wennberg to come through the winner and give New York an advantage, while putting the Panthers in their first series deficit of the postseason.

"They had some good chances," Wennberg said. "You need a goalie who can help out and [Shesterkin] did more than once or twice. He did that, and it's a good feeling to have that goalie making a difference."

New York was behind early in Game 3 because of its own disciplinary issues.

Braden Schneider went to the box for delay of game less than two minutes into the first period and Sam Reinhart immediately capitalized with a power-play goal to give Florida a 1-0 lead.

New York wouldn't be in that deficit for long though, with Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow scoring just 25 seconds apart midway through the frame to make it 2-1 Rangers.

It was Reinhart making New York pay with his second power-play goal of the night to tie the game 2-2 through 20 minutes. Reinhart's two goals on the man advantage is tied for most ever by a Panthers' player in a postseason contest.

That four-goal first period came after a combined six goals were tallied in Games 1 and 2. But shot attempts were 30-10 Florida in the first period, and 20-10 at even strength, only underscoring how valuable Shesterkin was to keeping New York in check. While Florida made good on its power-play tries, the Rangers couldn't do the same.

They were 0-for-2 on the night with an extra man but benefited from Goodrow's shorthanded tally that, along with a second goal of the game from Lafreniere, gave New York its 4-2 lead going into the third period.

That's where the Rangers would be truly tested. The Panthers pushed hard and controlled play until they'd even things on the scoresheet. Florida was all over New York, scoring two goals from Aleksander Barkov and Gustav Forsling while outshooting the Rangers 13-4 and outchancing them 40-10.

Laviolette took his timeout. That's when the mood shifted for New York.

"It's an up-and-down game," Trocheck said. "[In the third] period, they had the edge again. Our team is resilient. Going into overtime, anything can happen."

Shesterkin stood tall in the extra frame to allow New York the chance to secure a victory. Wennberg came through in the clutch.

"Really good work by him in all zones. Really smart player," Laviolette said. "Really committed. Gave us what we needed at the time and what we were hoping for."

In the end, the Panthers attempted 108 shots on the Rangers, and it didn't result in a win. Florida coach Paul Maurice hopes that helps his team bounce back in Game 4 on Tuesday.

"A lot of times in the playoffs you want to make sure you keep your energy and cut off your losses," Maurice said. "And you let it go. Then there are times you want to keep it. And eat it. And let it burn for a while. And find a different kind of energy source. When you put up what we put up tonight and don't come up with the win, you should be a little growly."