The New York Rangers came away with a huge 3-2 win over the conference leading Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. Secondary scoring helped push the Rangers and was a huge contribution to the win. Martin Biron played solid for the Rangers turning away 30 of 32 shots he faced.
The first period was solid for the Rangers, both in the offensive and defensive zones. The Rangers defense was spectacular which was highlighted by the play of Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, and Anton Stralman. They gave the Lightning little to no room, and clogged up any chances that they had with the puck. The top line of Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, and Brad Richards had a few chances throughout the period, but the puck wasn't able to bounce their way.
Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan also had a solid period as they ramped up their pressure in the offensive zone, and created some chances. The Rangers came away with a 11-8 lead in shots, but the eight shots by the Lightning weren't very threatening to say the least. Another key to the Rangers strong first period was disciple. The Rangers stayed out of the box for the entire first period, and they were able to put their game plan into full effect without any interruptions.
The Rangers eventually took their first penalty of the game early on in the second period, and sent a lethal Tampa Bay power play unit to work. It didn't take long until Steven Stamkos ripped a shot passed Martin Biron from the high slot, to make it 1-0 Lightning. Tampa Bay runs a 1-3-1 on their power play, and Stamkos was left wide open in front of the net. That's the last place you want someone open with the man advantage, especially Stamkos.
After a solid first period from Derek Stepan, he came away with his first goal in 21 games, which dates back to last season during the playoffs. Carl Hagelin threw a shot on net, and Stepan was able to chip the rebound over Mathieu Garon to tie the game up at 1-1 midway through the second period. Stepan actually had numerous chances following the goal, and was a hound around the net for the rest of the period. The goal seemed to of woken up Stepan as he had a few more chances before the end of the period. If Stepan can get going again, they will have some solid secondary scoring.
Nearing the end of the period, the Rangers were able to draw a interference penalty on Eric Brewer, with hard work coming from Jeff Halpern along the boards. The Rangers came into the third period with a solid start, and got in quick on the forecheck. Rick Nash would eventually put the Rangers ahead 2-1 on a dazzling power move around Victory Hedman, and slammed it under the pad of Garon. Rick Nash was another guy who needed another goal under his belt to get him going, and he got just that tonight.
The Rangers continued to shut down the Lightning, and slowed down the pace. A little over ten minutes after Nash put the Rangers on top, Carl Hagelin added an insurance goal to widen the gap to 3-1. Taylor Pyatt made a nice little chip pass to the breaking Hagelin, and he redirected the shot which beat Garon through the legs. Sam and Joe were 3-for-3 tonight when calling goals. They called Stepans, Nash's, and than Hagelin's. Those guys should play the lotto tonight.
With under a minute left, the Lightning pulled Garon for the extra attacker, and Steve Stamkos ripped home his second goal of the game. The shot came from just above the left faceoff circle, and it definitely had some unreal speed behind it. It wound up beating Biron over the right shoulder, and there wasn't much he could have done about that one. The Rangers were able to kill off the remaining 19 seconds, and come away with their fourth win of the season.
Everyone contributed to the win tonight, and it was a solid effort from a team that was blown out of their home building just two days ago. As I said before, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin played tremendous tonight, and those are the guys that needed a kick start. Martin Biron was also solid between the pipes, and made the saves that he needed to make to hold on to the win.
The Rangers will have several days off before they head into New Jersey on Tuesday night to take on the New Jersey Devils. It's time to put a streak together here.