The New York Rangers need only two more wins to make the Stanley Cup Final. Their win in Game 3 on Sunday afternoon certainly could have come in more comfortable fashion. But forward Alex Wennberg deflected a shot past the Florida Panthers in overtime to give his team a crucial 2-1 series lead.

At times, it seemed as if the Rangers would finish the game in regulation. In fact, they entered the third period with a two-goal advantage over Florida. However, the Panthers scored two goals to force the extra period. Despite the unfortunate third period, Wennberg said his team never lacked confidence.

“The third period didn't end the way we want it, but you have to go in and reset,” the Rangers forward said, via “We had a little talk there, but I feel like this team, we have that belief. We're maybe not the most vocal, but we all look at each other. We know what to do and you obviously see when we get out there, we get the job done.”

How Alex Wennberg, New York salvaged Game 3

New York Rangers center Jack Roslovic (96) celebrates after a game-winning goal by center Alex Wennberg (not pictured) during overtime in game three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amerant Bank Arena.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers and Panthers went back and forth early on Sunday. Florida opened the scoring in the first period thanks to Sam Reinhart. But New York soon struck back. Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow scored within a minute of each other to give the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead. However, the Panthers tied the game before the first intermission.

The Rangers took over the game in the second period. Lafreniere and Goodrow scored another goal each in the middle frame. Goodrow's goal, scored on the penalty kill, marked his fifth goal in his last six games. New York entered the third period with a two-goal advantage over Florida.

The Panthers still had fight left in them though. And they refused to let the Rangers win the contest without a fight. Aleksander Barkov and Gustav Forsling scored to bring the game level in the third period. Overtime was needed to settle this game. There, Alex Wennberg tipped a Ryan Lindgren shot past Sergei Bobrovsky to silence the Florida crowd.

Rangers looking for first Cup Final in 10 years

The Rangers are now on the cusp of making the Stanley Cup Final once again. New York has come close to the Final in recent years. But the last time they actually made it was all the way back in 2014. The Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games during that year's East Final. However, they fell to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.

New York has to overcome last year's Eastern Conference champions to make it back to the Final. The Panthers had an incredible run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2023. They defeated a 65-win Boston Bruins team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Carolina Hurricanes to win the East. Florida could not beat the Vegas Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup, though.

Last year's playoff failure is fueling Florida during this year's run. They were within three wins of their first championship this time in 2023. And they believe they have the talent to make up for that loss in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Rangers also believe they have the talent to win it all this season. And it'd be a monumental victory for the Original Six franchise. New York's last Final appearance came in 2014. However, they last won the Stanley Cup in 1994 when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks.

Alex Wennberg helped the Rangers take Game 3 after a third-period stumble. But they still have work to do over the rest of this series. New York can take a 3-1 series lead over the Panthers with a win on Tuesday night in Game 4.