It wasn't pretty, but then again it didn't have to be. Whether it was a Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman putting the puck in his own net or goalie Mike Smith's inability to control the bouncing biscuit, the Rangers didn't have to do much on the offensive end to get on the scoreboard.
Last night was the epitome of get the puck to the net and good things happen.
Prust began the scoring with a hardworking goal that found it's way through Smith. The line of Jody Shelley, Artem Anisimov, and Prust have been very successful and noticeable the past few games. In fact, it has allowed Head Coach John Tortorella to use all four lines more frequently, which could pay dividends later in the season and playoffs should they get in.
Marc Staal scored his second in as many games as his wrist shot got behind the dazed Lightning goalie.
Vinny Prospal and Brandon Dubinsky both scored to end the first period 4 - 0. Prospal found the puck behind the net and got to the slot, putting a backhand under Smith. On the power play, Dan Girardi fed Dubinsky whose shot bounced a bit and eventually found its way to the back of the net off of Lightning defender Kurtis Foster.
The hardworking Aaron Voros topped the scoring with a goal in the third period, similar in style to Prospal's.
Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves for the shutout, many of them with the Lightning forwards standing on the doorstep.
Outside the St. Pete Times Forum, the Rangers got help as well. Philadelphia fell to Montreal 1 - 0 in regulation which puts the Rangers only a couple points out of a playoff spot with games in hand.
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Despite the score, the game wasn't flawless for the Rangers. The defenders lost their man in front several times, but Lundqvist was equal to the task. The Rangers also played with fire, with several careless penalties falling their way.
Nonetheless, the Rangers can make some big progress tonight against the Florida Panthers toward making the postseason.
Ryan Callahan (leg), Sean Avery (leg), and Brian Boyle (foot) remain day-to-day and none are expected to skate tonight.