The New York Rangers certainly had a rough start to the game tonight, but they were able to shake it off and earn a huge 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning absolutely dominated the first period of the game, and based on the shot total alone, this game wasn't even close. Despite giving up two early goals, Henrik Lundqvist was an absolute monster in between the pipes, and kept this game within reach when the Rangers finally awoke.
With the Lightning holding a 17-2 shot advantage through 20 minutes, they hemmed the Rangers in and were rewarded with two consecutive goals. The first goal came just 2:42 into the first period, after the Rangers over-committed with the puck sitting in the high slot. Andrej Sustr was able to pinch in from the point, and unleashed a quick shot that fooled Lundqvist and got the Lightning on the board.
A few moments later, the Lightning were rewarded with a power play and scored just as the penalty was coming to a close. After a mass scramble at the top of the crease, Onrej Palat located the loose puck and shoveled the puck towards the net. Just as the puck was about to cross the goal line, the pick ticked off of Brian Boyle's stick and landed in the net to give Tampa the 2-0 lead.
At this point, this game was looking extremely bleak for the Rangers and with the way they were playing, it appeared as if this was going to be a blowout. However, the Rangers were able to turn this game around nearing the end of the second period. Derek Stepan notched his 21st goal of the season on the power play and brought the Rangers back within a single goal.
Heading into the third period, the Rangers looked to carry over their momentum and find a way to get back into the game. Sure enough, just 2:33 into the final frame, Derek Stepan was able to tie up the game as he fooled Andrei Vasilevskiy with another bomb over the glove hand. The Rangers weren't there though, and just over two minutes later, Chris Kreider put the Rangers ahead.
Marc Staal got it all started with a strong defensive play at the red line, and quickly found Kreider breaking into the zone. Kreider was able to catch the puck cleanly and made a strong move to the backhand with plenty of time to work with on the breakaway. Vasilevskiy was unable to kick out the pad in time, and Kreider's 21st goal of the season gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead.
With the way the Rangers had started this game, there was no way anyone expected it to take this drastic of a turn. Lundqvist and the Rangers were able to hold the Lightning off of the scoreboard for the remainder of regulation time, and locked up a big 3-2 victory at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers still have a shot at locking home ice as they continue to chase the Pittsburgh Penguins, so tonight's win was all the more important. Following a set of back-to-back games, the Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before meeting up with the New York Islanders on Thursday evening.