The New York Rangers visited the hot Tampa Bay Lighting in a hard-hitting, playoff-style game that resulted in another Blueshirts loss.
New York Rangers: 3 (14-13-3, 31 Pts.)
Goal Scorers: K. Hayes (6), K. Hayes (7), J. Fast (3)
Tampa Bay Lightning: 6 (24-7-1, 49 Pts.)
Goal Scorers: S. Stamkos, PPG (13), S. Stamkos PPG (14), R. McDonagh (3), A. Cirelli (7), S. Stamkos (15), A. Cirelli (8)
Venue: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Fl.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL, winning their last six in a row. The New York Rangers, losers of the last three out of four games, saw first hand what a complete hockey team looks like as the Lightning defeated the Rangers 5-3.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was under siege for the entire game, facing 29 shots in the first two periods of play, but unfortunately, he did let a goal in that he would want back on Ryan McDonagh’s shot in that second period.
The Lightning were just too much for the King and his teammates tonight.
Mats Zuccarello, for his sixth straight game, Brendan Smith, and Cole Schneider were the scratches for the game.
As was the case when he was a Rangers player, Ryan Mcdonagh was involved in the Rangers first goal as he deflected a weak backhander by Kevin Hayes to give the team a 1-0 lead.
The Rangers kept putting themselves in a hole as they were shorthanded four times in the first period. Lightning star-forward Steven Stamkos made the most of the opportunity scoring a one-timer power-play goal at 14:09 of the first period to even the game at 1-1.
Resilient as the Rangers have shown to be all season, Kevin Hayes scored his second of the period just 58 seconds after the Lightning tied the game and the Rangers took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
The Lightning outshot the Rangers 13-8 and outhit the Blueshirts 11-10 in the first period.
The Rangers lost defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk early in the second period after taking a hit from J.T. Miller. It was mentioned by broadcaster Joe Micheletti that he left the bench to get medical attention.
He would not return to the game. Shattenkirk suffered a shoulder injury.
The Rangers gave up the tying goal less than six minutes into the second period on another power-play goal by Steven Stamkos. Following a great shorthanded save on Kevin Hayes, the Lighting came back down the ice and Stamkos roofed his 14th of the year to even the game at two. The goal was the 700th point for Stamkos in his career.
The Lightning scored their first even-strength goal of the game as Ryan McDonagh scored his third of the season with a shot from the top of the right circle that Lundqvist would love to have back.
A goal that should have been saved now gave the Lightning a lot of momentum along with a 3-2 lead with 6:40 left on the second period.
Following the McDonagh goal, the play was in the Rangers end for what looked like the final 13 minutes of the second period as the Lightning outshot the Rangers 16 -5 and 29-13 for the two periods combined.
The third period was played more evenly than the previous second period. Following another Rangers penalty, the team was able to put consistent pressure in the Lightings end. Chris Kreider and Marc Staal had quality scoring chances but were unable to beat Lightning goalie Louis Domingue.
With 9:43 remaining in the third, the Lighting struck again as Anthony Cirielli stole the puck off of the Fredrik Claesson’s stick and went wide to beat Lundqvist, giving the Lightning a 4-2 lead.
Only 24 seconds later, Steven Stamkos scored his third of the game, and ninth career hat trick, on another perfect one-timer to give the Lightning a 5-2 lead as the hats hit the ice.
Jesper Fast scored his third of the year with 2:26 reaming in the game. The Rangers lost by a final of 6-3 following an empty net goal by a Cirelli, his second of the game.
Tampa Bay outshot the Rangers 36-26, and the team now must address a barrage of penalties they have been called for along with some poor penalty killing.
The New York Rangers next game will be on Friday night against the Arizona Coyotes at the Garden.