New York Rangers defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning for consecutive wins after the break

Feb 7, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck (16) and Tampa Bay
Feb 7, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck (16) and Tampa Bay / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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It's a good start to life after the all-star break for those in the iconic blueshirt. New York beats Tampa Bay 3-1 in a low event game. A defensive masterclass from two of the best coaches in NHL history, New York found a way to get past the Lightning and now extend their lead at the top of the Metropolitan Division. It's a perfect start and now they need to carry this form on the road to Chicago.

The game's first goal would come early in the second period as the New York Rangers went back to front in a heartbeat. Jimmy Vesey broke into the zone with Barclay Goodrow on a 2-on-1. A Tampa defenseman did well to cut the pass out, so Goodrow was never an option. Vesey saw this and decided to take the chance on his backhand. He roofed it, and Vasilevskiy, anticipating the pass, was beaten at his near post, allowing the Rangers to take a 1-0 lead.

With more than 13 minutes remaining in the period, we had a horrifying situation when Mikhail Sergachev collided with Alexis Lafreniere. His ankle was bent incredibly weirdly, and that, combined with Lafreniere's skating coming down in the general vicinity, made that look like a really bad situation. The staff at Blue Line Station wished the best for the player's health as the stretcher was brought out for the stricken Russian defenseman. Laf checked in on his way off, and it was clearly completely accidental.

Erik Gustafsson would take a puck off the kisser less than a minute later as a lot of blood started to pour from his mouth off the stick of Nikita Kucherov. In another completely accidental situation, Gustafsson would leave the Ranger bench and go down the tunnel for repairs. Kucherov just tried to chip it past Gustafsson, who went to try and poke it, and it caught him high. Kucherov checked in on the Swede in a show of sportsmanship. Gus would return later with a face bubble.

Before the end of the second, the Rangers would find twine again. Chris Kreider would join the forecheck and with the help of Blake Wheeler, they would get the puck out into the path of Jonny Brodzinski who had an extended shift in place of Mika Zibanejad. He got one to find a hole on Andrei Vasilevskiy, and it was a quick doubling of the Ranger lead as the Bolts were starting to feel the pressure of the Metropolitan Division leaders.

Tampa would grab one back five minutes into the third period. It was a clean zone entry from Nikita Kucherov, who dropped it back to Erik Cernak. He glided up the left wing before sliding it into the middle of the ice for Brandon Hagel. He bets Jonathan Quick from close in to ruin the shutout bid and cut the Ranger lead in half, making it a one-goal game with a lot of time left to go.

Jimmy Vesey would break away with Vasilevskiy on the bench and was able to grab his second goal of the game to put the game to bed. The Rangers depth won them this game against a strong Tampa Bay Lightning team. Back-to-back wins against contending teams at home is a strong start to the schedule after the all-star break. Now, they must build on this and find a way to string multiple wins together.