Rangers lose to Panthers, 2-1

Florida Panthers' Kris Versteeg (32) reaches for the Florida Panthers' Kris Versteeg (32) reaches for the puck as New York Rangers' Brandon Prust (8) drives in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla. (Nov. 23, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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SUNRISE, Fla. -- Coach John Tortorella had the Rangers work on the power play for most of Tuesday's practice. That's a rarity for him.

It may pay off down the road, but it didn't Wednesday night. The Rangers were scoreless on all four of their power-play opportunities and fell to the Panthers at BankAtlantic Center, 2-1.

The Rangers (10-5-3) have lost two straight and scored one goal total after a seven-game winning streak. Southeast Division-leading Florida (12-6-3) has won three in a row.

The Rangers were outshot 38-20, including 31-12 over the final two periods. Henrik Lundqvist (36 saves) kept them in the game with a series of spectacular stops. It wasn't enough.

The Rangers killed off a five-minute power play in the second period after Andre Deveaux was given a match penalty for attempt to injure after Deveaux hit Tomas Fleischmann in the head with an elbow.

Fleischmann, who went down in a heap, returned later in the period. Deveaux could be facing a suspension from the league.

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"It happened quickly," Deveaux said. "He was cutting in. I went to finish my check. I just remember that he went down. I haven't seen it. I don't know how bad it is. I know I elbowed him. He came back, so that's good."

All Tortorella would say about the hit and the possibility of suspension was, "It's not up to me what happens from there."

Anton Stralman, after practicing with the first power-play unit on Tuesday, made his Rangers debut Wednesday night. The 25-year-old defenseman was signed for one year and $900,000 on Nov. 5 and then went through conditioning drills and practices. He replaced Jeff Woywitka -- a healthy scratch -- and was paired with Steve Eminger.

"I want to see if he can help our power play," Tortorella said. "He needs to get in sooner or later, see what he is. I thought he moved the puck well on our power play [in practice]."

Entering Wednesday night, the Rangers were tied for next to last in the league with the Devils on the power play at 12.9 percent (9-for-70).

It was the Panthers, however, who got the first chance with a man advantage in a scoreless first period. Ryan Callahan was sent off at 9:21 for roughing. Jason Garrison's one-timer from the slot 45 seconds later gave Florida a 1-0 lead.

Florida entered seventh in the league on the power play at 19.8 percent (20-for-81), making it even more important for the Rangers to avoid penalties.

The Rangers' first power play came at 15:20. They got off two shots, plus one attempt by Stralman that was blocked.

Florida made it 2-0 just 1:09 into the second period when Fleischmann fed Kris Versteeg for the former Flyer's 12th goal of the season.

Derek Stepan made it 2-1 three minutes later with his fourth goal of the season. The Rangers had an extended power play -- Marian Gaborik returned to the first line, replacing Erik Christensen -- but they were turned away despite two shots, one during a 10-second five-on-three.

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Asked if he saw improvement from the Rangers' previous game, a 4-0 loss in Montreal, Tortorella said: "No. No. So we'll keep working at it."

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