It was a homecoming for Brad Richards, Ruslan Fedotenko, and John Tortorella who were apart of the Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup victory. This game was a grind it out victory from start to finish for the Rangers who struggled at times. Steve Downie tallied for the Lightning to give Tampa Bay the first goal of the game 84 seconds into the game. Fedotenko buried a rebound from Richards to tie it in the second period. Of course the game wouldn’t have been any fun without a former Rangers prospect or player scoring a goal so Tom Pyatt scored to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead with 2:18 to go. Artem Anisimov tied the game at 2 with a backhand off a rebound from a Derek Stepan shot at the 6:16 mark. Stepan scored the eventual game winner off an Anisimov stuff in try with a slap shot to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead with 3:19 left in the game. Brad Richards added the empty netter with a nifty no look shot to give the Rangers a 4-2 win.
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This was a definitely a game in which the Rangers wouldn’t have won last year. This was a tough grind it out game that last years club couldn’t have handled. This years club is completely different. They fought hard all game with Henrik Lundqvist bailing them out at times, but they managed to dig deep for a W. The Rangers literally stole this game from the Lightning, and I am sure the Lightning and their fans feel they definitely could have won this game.
Derek Stepan is really playing solid lately. He’s making great passes to set up goals and now he’s scoring some goals himself. It was really nice to see him come back after that shot block in the Carolina game and score the game winner in this game.
Carl Hagelin is extremely noticeable. This was his first game in which he didn’t get a point in this season but he still made his presence felt on the ice. You can’t praise this kid enough for stepping up big time for back-checking hard and getting to the net enough.
Henrik Lundqvist was a huge factor in this game. He stopped some point blank opportunities to keep the Rangers in this game and allowed them to get some goals on the board. He by far has to be the most consistent goalie year in and year out since the lockout.
For those that didn’t read the caption above, Stepan got the Broadway Hat for getting a goal and an assist.
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