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Rangers rally to beat the Lightning; Lundqvist makes 39 saves

Alexandra Russo

rangers celebrate a goal 4-5

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a playoff clinching 4-2 victory over the Blue Jackets Monday night, the Rangers faced off for the first time at home against Tampa since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Lightning have been playing without former Ranger, Anton Stralman, Victor Hedman, and top forward Steven Stamkos for a while, and the Rangers played without Ryan McDonagh. He is out indefinitely and will miss the rest of the regular season. In his absence, Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath saw ice time. Lindberg also replaced Hayes. They helped their team to an amazing come from behind 3-2 victory.

Tampa started out fast, as only 2:42 into the game, Namestnikov fed an open Andrej Sustr. He was wide in front of the net with absolutely no one on him. This is an example of the poor coverage the Rangers had to start out the game.

Shortly after, Tampa went on the power play. They had the worst power play in the League coming into this matchup, but they were able to convert on Brian Boyle’s deflection. Ondrej Palat took a shot that was saved by McIlrath’s skate. However, Palat got his own rebound, and Boyle’s stick deflected the shot past a misplaced Lundqvist for a two goal lead very early into the period.  The Lightning had another power play, but the Rangers proceeded to kill it. The penalty kill looked more like itself, blocking quite a few shots.

The Rangers had a power play of their own. It looked good and recorded three shots on goal, but they were unable to convert.

Tanner Glass took a five minute major penalty for interference on Namestnikov. He seemed dazed as he headed off the ice and into the locker room. (He did come out for the second, though.) There were 4 minutes left in the period, so the penalty would extend into the second period of play for about a minute. The Rangers did an excellent job with the penalty kill, as they were able to keep nearly everything to the outside.

That great kill doesn’t take away from a bad period of hockey, though. If you thought the period in Carolina was bad, this was worse. Lundqvist kept his team in the game, stopping 19 of 21 shots.

The second period started out with the Rangers killing off the rest of the five minute major. But the Lightning proceeded to hound the Rangers’ netminder. They were just shooting the puck whenever they could, hoping for a good bounce.

Their sustained pressure caught the Rangers guilty of a delay of game penalty. They killed that one, too, but their fifth power play was coming up soon.

Yandle got called for a double minor, but the Lightning got assessed a two minute minor, and their fifth power play was cut shorter than it was supposed to be. It seemed like an eternity of penalties at this point for the Rangers.

Palat received a delay of game penalty, and the Rangers, though they didn’t capitalize on the opportunity,had many chances. Their best was a shot from Yandle that got deflected by Kreider in front but just missed the net. Their next power play finally rewarded them for all their hard work. Derek Stepan tied his career high 21 goals in a season as he got one back for his team. Zuccarello got his sixtieth point of the season with a primary assist. Yandle received the secondary assist.

Kreider got called for hooking with 18 seconds left in the second period. Though it wasn’t the start they wanted to the final period of play, the momentum soon turned in their favor. They negated the Lightning’ power play a little less than halfway in. Just as the abbreviated power play was ending, Derek Stepan scored for his team, his second goal of the game. The roar from the crowd was overwhelmingly loud as the Blueshirts had just tied a dramatic game at 2. But they didn’t stop there.

4:46 into the third and final period, Chris Kreider was fed the puck from Marc Staal. Kreider used his incredible strength and speed to slip the puck past Vasilevskiy for a Rangers’ lead for the first time in the game.

Nash hit the post with just under four minutes to go in the game. The crowd thought it went in, but it just stayed on the goal line until it was cleared.

The Lightning net was empty with just over a minute remaining, and Girardi took a hard hit that left him motionless for about a minute. He slowly got up off the ice, the Garden behind him. Boyle was assessed a five minute major, even though only a minute remained. The game continued after he headed to the locker room, and with a couple of beautiful saves by Lundqvist, the Rangers held on to a huge comeback win.

Their next battle is a huge one against arch rival New York Islanders. That game could decide seeding in the playoffs, so you don’t want to miss the action. Catch it at 7:00 on Thursday.

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Posted on April 6, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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