Tampa Bay Lightning explode in the third period to down the New York Rangers

Mar 14, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) is congratulated by
Mar 14, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) is congratulated by / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers collapse in the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning as the Blueshirts couldn't cope with Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and the Lightning's top line. It's a tough night, but the Rangers have a tough schedule coming up so there is no time to pine. Have to get back to winning ways next time out when they take on the Penguins.

New York would grab the lead on an odd man rush. Vincent Trocheck would enter the offensive zone with Artemi Panarin. Trocheck is able to move to the center of the ice, forcing the defenseman and goaltender both to respect the shot, before laying the puck onto the blade of Panarin, who snaps it home from a tight angle. A really well worked goal, and Rangers take an early lead in Tampa Bay.

New York would grab a second when Jack Roslovic was free to run into the offensive zone. He fumbled a move to go between his legs and ended up going into the corner with the puck. He got it down behind the net for Mika Zibanejad who found Braden Schneider jumping into the slot from his defensive position. Schneider buried it and it was 2-0 Rangers towards the end of the first period of play in this one.

In the second, a bad turnover from Jonny Brodzinski would let the Lightning walk in on a two-on-one. Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov work it around Schneider who is the player back, and Point picks a corner on Shesterkin, who allows his first goal since Ryan Lomberg scored on him in the third period of the Florida game. It cut the Rangers lead in half with 7 minutes to go in the second period.

With 90 seconds left the Lightning cause chaos in the Ranger zone. Brayden point puts on his harlem Globetrotter routine until he gets loose in the slot. His shot is knocked down by Shesterkin, but former Ranger Anthony Duclair is there to put the puck home and tie this game up. With the third period ahead, it was going to be a tough final 20 minutes, but the two points would be nice in this one.

As the Rangers forechecked 90 seconds into the game, they were able to find a way to force the puck back to Adam Fox at the point. Fox played a dynamic pass between the dots to Jack Roslovic at the back door, and he was able to get it home past Vasilevskiy in the Tampa net, restoring the Rangers lead. Now, it was a case of shutting the door as the Blueshirts had done so well recently.

During a four-on-four, Tampa would tie it up. Victor Hedman found a seam to get the puck down to Point at the goalline. He was able to dance into a shooting chance, and it just beat Shesterkin from a bad angle, allowing the Lightning back onto level terms. The Rangers did not have an answer to Point all night long, and they'd need one if they were going to win this game.

With 7 minutes left, Tampa Bay's powerplay would give them the lead. Kucherov got it back to Hedman, whose shot was knocked away, but the loose puck was recovered by Anthony Cirelli. Cirelli found Point, Point hit a wide open Steven Stamkos at the back post, and the Lightning captain fired the puck home to give the Lightning their first lead of the night.

On a rush into the Ranger zone, Kucherov and Point worked a shooting chance for Hedman at the point. Point couldn't bury the rebound chance, but they got the puck around to Kucherov. Kucherov found the stick of Brayden Point alone in front who buried it and the Lightning had a multiple goal lead in the third. It was now a difficult task for the Rangers to win this one when they had so much hope after the first period.

Kucherov would put the dagger into the empty net with three and a half minutes left as Brayden Point has six points in this one to end the Rangers recent hot streak. They just couldn't cope with that line, and it's concerning because there is a very real chance that these two teams clash in round one. New York have to find a way to adapt to that line before its too late.