NY Sports Update January 6th, 2012: Rangers beat Panthers in Overtime, Islanders defeat Hurricanes and Knicks upset against Charlotte


Defense Dooms Knicks Against Charlotte; Rangers Defeat Panthers in Overtime; Islanders Defeat Hurricanes in Shootout; A Look Ahead: Giants - Falcons

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Defense Dooms Knicks Against Charlotte

The returns of Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert weren't enough to propel the Knicks to victory over Charlotte Wednesday night. Despite an offensive performance that saw five different New York players reach double digits in points, the Bobcats won out in the end, 118-110.

The Knicks (2-4) fell behind early on and never really recovered, trailing 30-26 at the end of the first quarter and 62-52 at the half. It was the second straight game in which New York fell behind early: They trailed 51-34 at one point in Monday night's loss to Toronto.

Carmelo Anthony gave the Knicks another fine performance, leading all scorers with 32 points, while Stoudemire came back strong with a double-double (25 points and 12 rebounds). On the other hand, rookie Josh Harrellson had his second straight subpar game, going scoreless with just one rebound.

The Knicks hope to snap their losing streak as they enter a two-game road trip, traveling to Washington Friday and Detroit Saturday before returning home for a rematch with Charlotte on Monday.

Rangers Defeat Panthers In Overtime

In a matchup of two of the best teams in the NHL, the New York Rangers triumphed, 3-2, in a thrilling overtime victory over the Florida Panthers.

New York (25-9-4) fell behind early in the contest but evened the score late in the first period on defenseman Anton Stralman's first goal as a Ranger. The score remained tied until the third period, when the Rangers took a 2-1 lead, only to see Florida score 36 seconds later to tie the game again at 2-2.

But 3:19 into overtime, Marian Gaborik took a pass from Derek Stepan and slapped in a hard drive, his 23rd goal of the season.

With the win, the Rangers remained one point ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference standings and jumped ahead of West-leading Vancouver for the lead in the NHL standings. They hope to continue their winning ways on the road in Pittsburgh Friday night.

Islanders Defeat Hurricanes In Shootout

On the strength of Franz Nielsen's shootout move and a perfect two-point power play in the third quarter, the New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night.

Matt Moulson put the Islanders (14-17-6) ahead 1-0 in the first quarter, but Carolina's Anthony Stewart responded with a goal just 37 seconds later to tie the score at one. Brent Sutter's score in the second period gave Carolina a 2-1 lead.

Scoring continued to go back and forth as the Islanders tied the score in the final quarter, gave up another goal to trail 3-2, and scored again with 1:30 remaining in regulation. An uneventful overtime set up the shootout, and Nielsen's backhand did the rest.

The Islanders' winning streak now stands at three games, their longest of the season. Next up are games in Anaheim Friday and Phoenix Saturday before their return to Long Island.

A Look Ahead: Giants - Falcons

Following their victory over the Dallas Cowboys in their final regular-season game, the New York Giants will host a dangerous Atlanta team on Sunday.

The Falcons offense, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, includes standout players like 100-reception receiver Roddy White, future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez and 2011 first-round draft pick Julio Jones. Stopping those impact players will be a challenge for the Giants secondary.

The Giants offense has played well in its last few games, with excellent performances running and passing the ball. Giants fans hope their team will ride that wave of success through the first round of the playoffs.