Skip to content

Rangers support Lafreniere after own goal: 'Nothing to even worry about'

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The New York Rangers rallied around Alexis Lafreniere after his unfortunate own goal helped lift the Florida Panthers to an Eastern Conference Final-opening win Wednesday.

"Everyone's probably been in that situation - I mean, every defenseman has," Jacob Trouba said postgame. "Just a tough bounce, obviously, not what he was trying to do. It's nothing to even worry about. It should be out of his head already by now. Just one of those unfortunate breaks."

The Panthers held a 1-0 lead for much of the contest thanks to Matthew Tkachuk's first-period tally, but Lafreniere accidentally tipped the backbreaker past Igor Shesterkin with just under four minutes remaining in the game.

Shesterkin came out aggressively to play the puck off the boards, but it was corralled by Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe who tried to find Tkachuk with a cross-ice pass, which Lafreniere then deflected in front.

Verhaeghe was credited with the goal, and Sam Bennett cashed in on the empty net over two minutes later to seal the Cats' 3-0 victory. Panthers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside all 23 shots he faced.

Like Trouba, Rangers forward Chris Kreider doesn't want Lafreniere to sweat the unfortunate moment.

"He was in the right spot. He worked so hard to get back to that spot, stop in the crease, that's what we want," Kreider said. "He's the low guy, it's a bad bounce, but that's hockey. We know the kind of player he is, we said a couple of things to him, but he'll respond, he'll pick himself up, and we'll pick him up, too."

Jimmy Vesey, meanwhile, lauded Lafreniere's play so far this spring.

"I don't think anyone's looking at him for that play. ... He's been a huge part of the team all year, Vesey said. "He's played great in the playoffs. As a team, we're looking to respond next game."

Lafreniere has racked up a respectable four goals and 10 points in 11 games this postseason, building on a regular season where he registered a career-high 28 tallies and 57 points in 82 contests.

Puck drops on Game 2 on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox