New York Rangers 4 Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Derek Stepan fired off a shot that was blocked and the rebound was a perfect tap in for Rick Nash at 4:30 in the period. It was a much needed goal for both Nash and the entire team. J.T.Millertook the game’s first penalty at 9:11 for hooking against Martin St. Louis. This led to a goal at 10:41 by Tyler Johnson. At 16:05 the Lighning again found the back of the net to take the lead 2-1. Valtteri Filppula pulled a Dom Moore mistake on the face-off and got a delay of game call against him for using his hand to play the puck. Mats Zuccarello made him pay for that mistake after only eight seconds on the power play. Credit Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh with the assists on that goal. The teams took to the dressing room tied at two with the Rangers edging out the Lightning 14-12 in shots. Both teams battled hard but the Rangers just looked great out there. With few penalties, the game progressed rather quickly and the refs were great about letting the guys play, not that there were any non call situations. The Tampa power play goal was the result of St. Louis being given far too much time to hold the puck and set up the prime pass. Henrik Lundqvist finally looked like the goalie of the last eight years.
Hold on to your hat because the Rangers came out of the dressing room ready to play. In his second best move of the night, Nash was able to draw a holding penalty against Dmitry Korobov at 3:18 and at 4:35 Chris Kreider now leads the team goal scoring at 10 with a back handed shot. Credit Zuccarello and McDonagh with the assists. Carl Hagelin took a stick to the face from Jean-Phillipe Cote at 6:42 which led to another Rangers power play goal at 7:51 by Benoit Pouliot; assisted by Brassard and Zuccarello. Dan Girardi took a penalty at 11:11 for interference but that made no difference on the score board. The Rangers again battled hard and dominated, despite being out shot 9-12 by the Lightning.
The beginning of the period felt very gloom and doom. The team was lost and not looking good at all for most the first 15 minutes of play. The Lightning were firing shots at Lundqvist like an oozie sprays bullets. It was horrible and Filppula was able to find the back of the net at 8:14 to bring the Lightning within one. All of the sudden something happened that kicked the Rangers in the pants and got them motivated. They got back on their feet and maintained control of the game. They were able to keep St. Lois off the puck very well and rendered St. Louis rather useless tonight. The Lightning again out shot the Rangers 6-16.
- The Rangers went 3 for 3 on the power play
- The Rangers had 17 hits to the 15 from Tampa
- The Rangers won 31 face-offs compared to 29 from Tampa
- Stepan went 8 of 18 (44%) in the circle, yet continues to take the majority of the team’s faceoffs
- Conor Allen logged 22 shifts for 15:47 in ice time and was credited with 2 shots
The official stars were:
3- Teddy Purcell
2- Ryan McDonagh
1- Mats Zuccarello
My stars are:
3- Dan Girardi- 2 shots/4 blocks/2 hits
2- Brassard and McDonagh tie with 2 points each
1- Zuccarello with a 3 point night
I must say that it isn’t fair to leave Lundqvist out but it’s hard to compare him with the rest of the team, that’s why he got the “Broadway Hat” for his 37 saves and .925 save percentage.
The Rangers play again on 31 December at 5:00pm against the Panthers from Sunrise Florida.