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Rangers Vs. Lightning Recap: Rangers Fall To Lightning 4-3 In Regulation

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The New York Rangers were unable to fight their way out of a two goal, third period deficit and fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-3.

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The New York Rangers continued to falter against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, and were once again defeated 4-3 in regulation. The Rangers simply had no answer for the swarming forecheck of the Lightning, and were abused in their own end all night long. Ryan Callahan also contributed another pair of goals for the Lightning, and is slowly building up his reputation as a Ranger killer.

The game started off fairly quickly for the Lightning, as they were rewarded with an early power play as a result of Mats Zuccarello's questionable interference penalty. With a little under a minute remaining on the man-advantage, the Rangers made the mistake of leaving Steven Stamkos wide open to the side of the net, and they paid for it. Dan Boyle and Marc Staal both drifted behind the net in an attempt to overwhelm Ryan Callahan, but Callahan's quick thinking turned that mistake into a prime scoring opportunity. Callahan's quick pass out front to Valtteri Filppula opened up a passing lane over to Stamkos, and he ripped a booming slap shot over the shoulder of Henrik Lundqvist to make it 1-0.

While it was a tough goal to give up early in the game, the Rangers responded extremely well following the goal, and wound up taking a 2-1 lead. Just four minutes after the Stamkos tally, Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello connected for the tying goal after Andrej Sustr coughed up the puck at his own blue line. Nash was able to force Sustr into making a quick play, which resulted in the turnover, and left a wide open passing lane to Zuccarello. Without wasting much time, Nash quickly fed it over to Zuccarello, who snapped the puck just over the blocker hand of Ben Bishop, and knotted the game up at 1-1.

Then two minutes later, it was Dan Boyle converting on the power play to give the Rangers their first lead of the evening. The Rangers power play has been pretty decent for most of the year, but ever since Dan Boyle and Derek Stepan have returned, the power play has looked even more lethal. After some nifty work along the boards by Derick Brassard, Stepan was able to receive a pass in the high slot, and quickly dished it over to Boyle who had a wide open shooting lane. Catching the puck in stride, Boyle let a quick onetimer rip, and was able to catch Ben Bishop through the five hole as he was sliding over to square up to the shot.

Boyle has been knocking on the door for quite some time, and he was finally rewarded with his first as a Rangers as well as his first goal of the season. That 2-1 lead was fairly short lived, however, as the Lightning eventually responded with another goal of their own at the 17:34 mark of the first period. Ryan Callahan was the recipient of the goal, as he was able to get a piece of Jason Garrison's point blast, and deflected it under the arm of Lundqvist.

Despite some early mistakes in the first period, the Rangers were able to survive the first period for the most part, and came away with a 2-2 deadlock. The tie would end about halfway through the second, though, as Ryan Callahan chipped in his second goal of the night to give Tampa at 3-2 lead. Steven Stamkos absolutely abused Marc Staal on the ensuing rush, and was able to cycle behind the net, before finding Callahan open in the high slot for the one-timer.

Lundqvist actually got a large piece of the shot with his glove, but was unable to get a handle on it, and it trickled him behind him. Heading into the third period, the Lightning continued their dominance in the offensive zone, and Nikita Kucherov eventually capitalized on yet another redirection in front. That extended the Lightning lead to 4-2, and essentially planted the seed of doubt for the Rangers.

The Rangers didn't just lay over and give up, however, and they actually responded with some of their most dominating shifts following the goal. With a little under eight minutes remaining in regulation, Rick Nash was able to cut the lead to 4-3, as he powered his way to the front of the net, and ripped a shot through traffic that beat Bishop through the legs. Nash continues to be force night in and night out, and is slowly climbing his way back for the league lead in goals.

With Lundqvist pulled in the final two minutes of regulation, the Rangers were pretty sloppy with their zone entries, which didn't allow them many opportunities. Finally, they were able to get control of the puck in the offensive zone, just as Chris Kreider was whistled down for a horrendous crosschecking penalty. Derick Brassard was just about to break in front of the net, but Kreider's penalty negated the chance, and all but ended the game for the Rangers.

As disappointing as the loss was, the Rangers stuck with it until the final buzzer, and lost to a very talented Lightning team. The Rangers will get to enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow, before they return for a home and home series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday and Saturday.