NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Artem Anisimov #42 of the New York Rangers celebrates scoring a goal in the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on December 8, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay got into some early penalty trouble and sent the Rangers to three straight power plays in the first period. Finally, on their second opportunity Ryan Callahan would convert a great shot from the face-off circles. With that, the Rangers finished out a strong first period, and went into the locker room with a solid 1-0 lead.
The Rangers began the second period with the same jump they left off with in the first period. However, just a little past the halfway point in the second, Ryan Malone capitalized on a bad turnover by Ryan McDonagh. I'm not sure if the pass was deflected, but McDonagh basically handed the puck to Malone on a silver platter. Malone walked in and beat Lundqvist with a quick wrist shot to the tie the game at 1-1.
Just two minutes later, after killing off the first of two penalties, Artem Anisimov gave the Rangers a 2-1. Brandon Dubinsky made a great pass over the Michael Del Zotto, who found Anisimov wide open in front. However, what followed the goal is where things began to get ugly.
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Anisimov made a "sniper" like gesture with his stick towards the net, in which Mathieu Garon was standing in. Vincent Lecavalier took except to the celebration, and stepped in to challenge Anisimov. Following that all hell broke loose on the ice, and also included Steve Downie coming off the Tampa bench to get involved.
After the dust settled, Steven Stamkos threw a punch straight to the face of Anisimov, and we had another little scuffle.After was all said and done, somehow the Rangers were caught with the extra minor, and had to kill off the 5-on-3.
While I understand the initial unsportsmanlike penalty on Anisimov, I don't understand how he received an extra 4:00 minutes. The fact that Downie basically got away scot-free with just a minor for roughing and a ten minute misconduct blows my mind. I really hope he gets a call from Brendan Shanahan, because that was unacceptable.
Late in the third period, the Rangers got a chance to widen the lead after a Ryan Malone boarding penalty. However, former Ranger, Dominic Moore came down the rink and sniped a back handed shot over the shoulder of Lundqvist with 1:57 remaining. The game would eventually head to overtime, where the Rangers had a handful of chances to end the game.
Although, they were unable to do so, and the game would have to be decided in the shootout. John Mitchell, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik all missed for the Rangers. None other than Dominic Moore would score the only goal of the shootout for Tampa, and they took the game 3-2.
While it wasn't a terrible game for the Rangers, you cannot be giving up late leads like that, especially shorthanded. In my opinion, the hold debacle that took place after the Anisimov goal was the turning point for this game. Following that, the Rangers seemed flat, and just couldn't get the puck to the back of the net. The Rangers will face-off against the Buffalo Sabres this Saturday at 7:00 PM.