National Hockey League
- Madison Square Garden PUCK DROP -
Tampa Bay Lightning
ML: TB +131
NY Rangers Rangers
ML: NYR -145
Goalie Performance
Andrei Vasilevskiy
#88 G Andrei Vasilevskiy
Henrik Lundqvist
#30 G Henrik Lundqvist
0.893 SV% 25 SV
0.951 SV% 39 SV
Scoring Leaders
Andrej Sustr
#62 D Andrej Sustr Goals Assists 1 0
Brian Boyle
#11 C Brian Boyle Goals Assists 1 0
Vladislav Namestnikov
#90 C Vladislav Namestnikov Goals Assists 0 1
Derek Stepan
#21 C Derek Stepan Goals Assists 2 1
Mats Zuccarello
#36 RW Mats Zuccarello Goals Assists 0 2
Chris Kreider
#20 LW Chris Kreider Goals Assists 1 0

NEW YORK -- Down two goals midway through the second period, the New York Rangers were drowning. The Tampa Bay Lightning ran the show in the first period and were looking for the dagger third goal with the game half-over.

That's when goaltender Henrik Lundqvist tossed his team a lifeline.

Lundqvist dove to stop center Tyler Johnson with his glove, then denied left winger Ondrej Palat while on his stomach. It kept the Rangers within striking distance and set the stage for a come-from-behind 3-2 victory at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

Center Derek Stepan scored twice to even the score and left winger Chris Kreider scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period. Stepan was named the game's first star by the attending media but his heroics would not have been possible if not Lundqvist, who had 39 saves, bailing out his fledgling team during the first 30 minutes.

"He was our best player tonight without a doubt," said Stepan, who has a career-high 22 goals. "We come out of the first only down 2-0 because of him and then he made some big-time saves in the rest of the game."

The Rangers entered the second period trailing 2-0 after they were outshot 21-6 during the first 20 minutes. They had to kill a five-minute major after left winger Tanner Glass was ejected for a late hit against center Vladisalv Namestnikov near the end of the first period.

But the Lightning could not find a third goal against Lundqvist, who did everything he could to stabilize a team that was coming off a playoff-clinching win in Columbus 24 hours earlier.

"Our start was brutal," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "I mean, we were still on the plane from the night before. (Lundqvist) made some saves to keep us within two goals going into the second period. I thought we started to find our legs after that kill and started to take the game over."

The Rangers played the final 45 minutes with only 11 forwards but somehow found a way to outscore the Lightning 3-0 without the services of Glass.

Stepan cut the lead in half with a power-play goal late in the second period, as his wrist shot got past goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy with help from a screen by Kreider. He scored again early in the third period, this time as a power play was expiring, as his slap shot from an unfavorable angle found the back of the net as Vasilveskiy dropped down early.

About two minutes after Stepan tied it, Kreider used his speed to escape a flat-footed Lightning defense and beat Vasilevskiy on a breakaway to make it 3-2.

Despite the regulation loss, the Lightning clinched a playoff berth.

"We are upset that we lost but you have to be proud that you got the points early in the season to be able to clinch a playoff spot," Johnson said. "Lundqvist made some great saves and they got some timely goals on mistakes by us. It basically came down to scoring that third goal with all those opportunities."

"Did (Lundqvist) make some big saves today? There's no question," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He's done that for his whole career and he kept them close enough to get back into it."

The Lightning appear locked into the 2-3 matchup in the Atlantic no matter what happens over the final week but the Rangers have a critical showdown with the Islanders on Thursday night. The Islanders are two points behind the third-place Rangers in the Metro with a game in hand.

"They've had a similar season to us and we're right there with each other," Lundqvist said. "They had some hot streaks and some stretches where they were struggling a little bit, just like us. Now it's just a few games left. You do everything you can to amp it up and focus on your game because in one week, it's serious."

Rangers D Dan Girardi left the game with less than two minutes remaining in the third period after he was driven into the boards by Lightning C Brian Boyle. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said the initial report on Girardi from doctors was positive.

NOTES: Lightning D Victor Hedman and RW Ryan Callahan were absent from the lineup. Hedman is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, while Callahan is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. ... Rangers D Ryan McDonagh will miss the remainder of the regular season with a right hand injury he suffered Monday. He could be back for the playoffs, but the team is listing him as out indefinitely. D Brady Skjei was promoted from AHL Hartford of the AHL to take McDonagh's place on the roster. ... Rangers LW Oscar Lindberg returned to the lineup after missing 10 consecutive games as a healthy scratch. He replaced LW/C Kevin Hayes. ... Rangers D Dylan McIlrath took the spot of D Dan Boyle. McIlrath had not played since March 6.
Top Game Performances
Tampa Bay   NY Rangers
Brian Boyle 1 Points Derek Stepan 3
Brian Boyle 1 Goals Derek Stepan 2
Tyler Johnson 1 Assists Mats Zuccarello 2
Brian Boyle 1 Power Play Goals Derek Stepan 1
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Andrei Vasilevskiy .893 Save Percentage Henrik Lundqvist .951
Andrei Vasilevskiy 25 Saves Henrik Lundqvist 39
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Tampa Bay 41 2 1-6 5-6 27 26
NY Rangers 28 3 1-6 5-6 27 29
Upcoming Games
  • NY Rangers will play their next game at home against NY Islanders. The Rangers have a W/L % of .511 after a win and .629 after a loss.
  • Tampa Bay will play their next game on the road against New Jersey. The Lightning have a W/L % of .543 after a win and .588 after a loss.