The New York Rangers were riding some big momentum into tonight's contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but were blown out due some defensive mistakes that wound up in the back of their own net. The Rangers were actually playing very, very well throughout the first half of the game, and had a handful of chances to come away with a goal or three.
However, as mentioned above, two defensive mistakes wound up costing them early, and they were forced to play catch up hockey the rest of the way. The Rangers have a knack for handing players their first career goals, and they did just that tonight. Nikita Kucherov picked up his first career goal just 2:12 into the game, and it came on his first ever shot in the NHL. It was a bit of a fluky goal, as Henrik Lundqvist wound up getting a piece of the puck, and it bounced in right over his shoulder.
As unlucky as the goal was to give up, they all count the same way no matter how good or ugly it was. As the Rangers weren't counting their luck already, Marty St.Louis picked up the game's second goal just about a minute later, as he broke in on a semi-breakaway. It was yet another unfortunate bounce that went against the Rangers as Marc Staal tried to collect a clearing attempt, and it jumped right over his stick.
As bad as it looked for the Rangers, they were actually controlling a majority of the play up until that point, and continued to do so for the rest of the period. It's worth giving credit to Ben Bishop, as he completely shut down the Rangers tonight, and earned his 14th win of the season. He robbed the Rangers all night long, including a golden scoring opportunity from Anton Stralman, which Bishop grabbed from his stomach just before it made it on net.
Things continued to work against the Rangers throughout the rest of the game, as the Lightning piled on three more goals before the end of the game. Marty St. Louis wound up picking up yet another goal in the second period, and Teddy Purcell closed out the game with a pair of goals.
It was just one of those games that you want to forget about almost instantly, and look ahead to the next game on the schedule. For the Rangers, they'll have tomorrow off before they move across to state for a meeting with the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.