NEW YORK (AP) — After being criticized by coach David Quinn following a loss in their previous game two nights earlier, the New York Rangers responded with one of their best efforts of the season.
Filip Chytil scored the tiebreaking goal in his season debut, and the Rangers scored three times in 6 1/2 minutes late in the third period to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Ryan Strome had a goal and an assist, and Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox also scored for New York, which was 1-5-1 in its previous seven games. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 29 shots.
On Sunday, New York lost 7-4 to Boston, prompting Quinn to say he wanted the team to raise its ‘compete level.” He was much more satisfied after this win.
“Without a question, we were more engaged,” he said. “We embraced the battle instead of avoiding it. Once that happens you start rolling when you get a chance. I thought we did that for 60 minutes.”
Georgiev also echoed his coach’s sentiment and credited the win to the team playing a complete game.
“This was one of the games where we played for 60 minutes,” he said. “We didn’t give them too much space and played a really good game. The young guys stepped up.”
Nikita Kucherov had Tampa Bay’s goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 38 saves. The Lightning dropped to 3-2-1 in their last six games.
The game was tight for the first 53 minutes with each goalie making some big stops. However, the Rangers took the lead when Buchnevich sent a pass through traffic toward the middle for a streaking Chytil, called up from Hartford of the AHL on Monday, and he reached his stick forward and tipped the puck past Vasilevskiy with 7:14 left.
Fox then made it 3-1 as he knocked in the rebound of a shot by Chris Kreider for his first NHL goal with 2:36 remaining. Ryan Lindgren, also called up from Hartford the previous day, got an assist on the play for his first career point.
The Lightning pulled Vasilevskiy for an extra skater with about 1 1/2 minutes to go, but Strome scored an empty-netter with 46 seconds left to seal the win.
“We have a lot of skill, sometimes we just don’t use it,” Lightning forward Brayden Point said. “Our passes are a little bit off right now. … Sometimes pucks don’t bounce your way. We just got to stick with it.”
The Rangers outshot the Lightning 14-11 in each of the first two periods, and then 14-8 in the third. Quinn credited the team’s puck management as “the best it’s been all year.”
The Lightning took the lead late in the first period, and the Rangers scored the next four — starting with a fortuitous deflection midway through the second.
Penalties on Mathieu Joseph and Ondrej Palat gave the Rangers a 5-on-3 advantage for 20 seconds near the midpoint of the middle period. Shortly after the first penalty expired, Strome sent a pass from the left doorstep back to Kakko in the right circle, and the Finnish rookie fired at the goal. It was stopped by Vasilevskiy but the rebound went to the right and deflected off defenseman Braydon Coburn’s left skate and back in for Kakko’s second career goal — first on a power play — at 9:37.
The opening minutes of the game featured some physical exchanges, including a fight between the Rangers’ Michael Haley and the Lightning’s Patrick Maroon, with Haley dropping Maroon with a right hook to the side of the head — drawing loud cheers from the home crowd.
Kucherov gave the Lightning the lead with 4:16 left in the opening period, taking a pass from Point and putting it into the left side with Georgiev out of position for his fourth.
NOTES: Lightning D Kevin Shattenkirk was back at Madison Square Garden for the first time since having the last two seasons of his contract bought out the Rangers during the offseason and subsequently signing with Tampa Bay. The New Rochelle native had seven goals and 44 assists in 119 games over two seasons with the Rangers. … Maroon headed to the locker room shortly after going to the penalty box after his fight with Haley, and did not return to the game. … The Rangers honored former D Dan Girardi before the game. Girardi, who retired in the offseason, had 46 goals and 184 assists in 11 seasons in New York before spending two seasons with the Lightning and totaling 10 goals and 24 assists. Girardi came out on the ice, accompanied by his wife and two children, and dropped the ceremonial first puck. … C Mika Zibanejad, who leads the Rangers with 11 points, sat out with an upper body injury sustained in first period of 7-4 loss to Boston on Sunday night. … New York D Marc Staal was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career. … Strome has a point in five straight games, with three goals and five assists in that stretch. He also now has four goals and seven assists in 18 career games against the Lightning.
Lightning: At New Jersey on Wednesday night.
Rangers: At Nashville on Saturday night.
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