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Rangers lose third straight to Lightning; Power play continues to score

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs lightning faceoff 12-1

The Rangers dropped their third straight game against the Lightning this season by a score of 6-3. Martin St. Louis scored against his former team again, but it was not enough to beat the high powered Tampa Bay team. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

For the third time in two weeks, the Rangers (11-9-4) fell to the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning (17-6-2), this time by a score of 6-3.

The Rangers were in the game for the first two periods, and playing pretty well, until two goals in 1:24 in the third period derailed New York. Tampa would seal the win with an empty netter late in the period.

Henrik Lundqvist really struggled tonight, giving up 5 goals on the first 17 shots he faced. He would finish with 15 saves and a .750 save percentage.

It was the fourth time this season that Lundqvist has given up five or more goals in a game this season. Last season, he gave up five or more goals in a game just three times in 63 games played.

Jesper Fast scored his second goal in two games, and continues to impress since being recalled. The Rangers have been lacking production from the fourth line, and Fast is one of the players providing it.

The Rangers started out strong, getting a few long, sustained offensive chances. Kreider and Hagelin had a few chances, but Ben Bishop made the stops.

The Lightning would strike first, with Tyler Johnson scoring his seventh goal of the season. Victor Hedman fired a shot that bounced off of Ondrej Palat’ss skate and right to Johnson, giving Tampa Bay an early lead.

The Lightning continued to pressure New York on the forecheck, and the Rangers had trouble carrying the puck out of their own zone and into the neutral zone.

The Blueshirts started to figure this out, and Kevin Hayes scored his third goal of the season about 12 minutes into the first. Lee Stempniak and Carl Hagelin forced a turnover near the back of the net. Hagelin worked the puck behind the net, and passed it to Hayes on the left wing for one-timer past Bishop.

kevin hayes goal celebration 12-1

Kevin Hayes celebrates with his teammates after scoring the Rangers first goal of the game. It was Hayes’ third of the season and his eighth point. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

The Rangers started to play better, sustaining some offensive pressure and controlling play in the Lightning zone.

But the Lighhtning would answer back, with Brett Connolly scoring the goal to give Tampa Bay the lead. Connolly skated into the Rangers zone, and made a nice move to get an open wrist shot that he fired past a partially screened Lundqvist, giving the Lightning the lead just four minutes after the goal by Hayes.

In the second period, the Rangers continued to outshoot and out pressure Tampa Bay. New York would get on the board quickly, with the rookie Jesper Fast scoring his second goal of the season. Dan Girardi made a nice outlet pass to Rick Nash, and the Blueshirts had an odd man rush. Derick Brassard faked a slap shot, and slid the puck to Fast, tying the game at two.

jesper fast goal 12-1

Jesper Fast scored a tip in after Derick Brassard made a beautiful move to get the assist. Fast now has two goals in his last two games. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

The assist by Brassard gave him his 20th point of the season (8-12-20). Rick Nash’s assist increased his point streak to six games. He has also has at least a point in 19 of his 24 games this season.

The Rangers kept control of the game, getting chances from Zuccarello and nearly scoring on a Rick Nash rebound.

The Lightning would take two penalties, negating their own power play and giving the Rangers a short 5 on 3 chance. After the two man advantage expired, Martin St. Louis scored his 10th goal of the season to give New York their first lead of the game. The Blueshirts were moving the puck extremely well, and eventually got the puck over to Ryan McDonagh for a slap shot. St. Louis was perfectly positioned to put the rebound in the back of the net.

martin st louis goal celebration 12-1

Martin St. Louis scored his 10th goal of the season on the power play, giving him nine goals in his last 14 games. The Rangers have also scored on the power play in their last four games. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Stepan got an assist on the play,m giving him 13 points (2-11-13) in his first 12 games this year. The Rangers now have a power play goal in their last four games, and power play goals in seven of their last eight games.

The Rangers downfall came after a long penalty kill. Kevin Hayes took a penalty for hooking, and Ryan McDonagh took a hooking call 40 seconds later. After killing off both penalties, the Rangers could not get the puck out of their own zone, and Lundqvist couldn’t hold the puck for a whistle. Dom Moore made a bad attempt to clear it, and Matt Carle would score the equalizer after the power play expired.

New York headed into the locker room disappointed with the Lightning’s third goal, but happy with the second period.

In the third period, the wheels fell off for the Rangers, after a few good chances from Hagelin and Dom Moore, Tampa controlled the rest of the period.

On the Lightning’s power play, Brett Connolly fired a qquick wrister that beat Henrik Lundqvist, giving Tampa the lead again. Just over two minutes later, the Rangers gave the puck away behind the net to Nikita Kucherov. He passed it to Tyler Johnson, and his wrister went off the post and in for the Lightning’s fifth goal of the game.

lundqvist 12-1

Henrik Lundqvist could not hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning, allowing five goals on the first 17 shots that he faced. the Lightning’s high powered offense was too much for New York, even without Ryan Callahan and Steven Stamkos scoring. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Despite a late power play and an empty net, the Rangers could not score, with John Moore giving up the puck to Ondrej Palat at center ice, and he put it into the empty net, sealing the win for Tampa Bay.

In a span of 15 days, the Rangers have lost to the Lightning three times, getting outscored 15-7 in that span. Although the Lightning are a good team, it’s inexcusable to lose all three games, especially because they had a good chance to win the last two.

Once again, a lack of consistency harmed the Rangers. They played a solid two periods, but after the third goal by the Lightning, the team just fell apart. In order to win, the entire team needs to show up and play a complete 60 minutes of hockey.

Henrik Lundqvist really struggled tonight. Granted not every goal was his fault, but like AV said, Henrik “would like to have a few of those goals back.” Allowing 5 goals on 20 shots is simply a poor performance, and Lundqvist needs to be better. Lundqvist fell to 9-7-3 with a 2.70 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

His counterpart, Ben Bishop, made 32 saves and improved to 8-0-0 against the Rangers in his career. Bishop has outdueled the Rangers in all three games, and has been a brick wall against the Rangers.

Carl Hagelin had a really good game tonight against the Lightning. Hagelin had four shots on goal and the primary assist on Kevin Hayes’ goal. Haglein now has 10 points this season (5-5-10), and has been a good third liner this season, as well as a valuable penalty killer.

carl hagelin shooting 12-1

Carl Hagelin was all over the ice for the Rangers tonight, registering four shots and picking up the primary assist on Kevin Hayes’ goal. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Jesper Fast scored his second goal in as many games, tapping in a pass from Derick Brassard. Fast is a goal scored in Hartford, and these past two games could serve as a confidence booster for the youngster. Fast now has four points, and any production from the fourth line is valuable.

Kevin Hayes scored his third goal of the year on a nice wrist shot over the shoulder of Ben Bishop. Kevin Hayes has done well as the third line center, despite being a winger in college. Hayes is a good puck possession player, and made his decisions quicker today, something that he has needed to do all season. The acquisition of Hayes in the offseason is looking better and better with every game.

Derick Brassard had a gorgeous assist of Jesper Fast’s goal. Brassard faked out every one before passing it off to Jesper Fast for a goal. When the season started, Brassard was supposed to be the second line center. Because of injuries, Brassard has become the top center, and has not disappointed. Brassard has 20 points (8-12-20) in 24 games, and has been one of the most consistent forwards on the team.

derick brassard hits stamkos 12-1

Derick Brassard earned his 20th point (8-12-20) of the season tonight with a great assist on Jesper Fast’s goal. Brassard has been fantastic as the top line center and has really stepped up this year. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Stepan and Nash both had an assist, increasing both of their point streaks. Nash has at least a point in 19 of 24 games this season, and Stepan is averaging over a point per game since his return.

Martin St. Louis scored on the power play, giving him nine goals in his last 14 games. St. Louis has been much better since moving to the right wing position, and now has 10 goals this season.

The Rangers next game will be on Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings have won four in a row and will play the Panthers and the Stars before the game on Saturday.

THREE STARS

1) Martin St. Louis – 1 Goal, 3 SOG

2) Kevin Hayes – 1 Goal

3) Jesper Fast – 1 Goal

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Posted on December 2, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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