Over the last few seasons, the Rangers and Lightning have engaged in a number of trades and free agent heists; leading Tampa to be dubbed, “Rangers South.”
And in this battle of North Vs. South; the South reigned victorious.
In the Lightning’s 5-3 win over the Blueshirts, Henrik Lundqvist found himself under siege right from the start.
By the time Lundqvist was pulled some 32 minutes later, he had surrendered four goals on 31 shots.
It’s never a good thing when your goalie essentially faces a shot per minute. But it’s not like all the goals were his fault.
The Lightning consistently hemmed the young Rangers’ defense in their own zone; leading to Lundqvist’s outrageously high workload.
Therefore, Lundqvist tried to make plays on his own and it cost him.
Alexandar Georgiev came on in relief midway through the second period; surrendering one goal on 14 shots.
The Blueshirts scored two garbage time goals in the third period to make the score close, but the game was never in doubt for the Lightning.
For the Rangers, their goal scorers were: Ryan Spooner, Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes.
And for the Lightning; Cedric Paquette, Adam Erne, Anthony Cirelli, Chris Kunitz and Tyler Johnson each lit the lamp.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
PAPA JOHN’S: Garbage time goals still count. At least the Blueshirts three-goal tally triggers some discounted pizza for their disgruntled fans.
SPOONMAN: Ryan Spooner registered seven points in his first three games as a Ranger. He was then held off the scoresheet in two straight. But against Tampa, Spooner recorded three points (1G, 2A); upping his Blueshirts totals to 10 points in six games.
MOP-UP DUTY: Alexandar Georgiev was pressed into mop-up duty when Henrik Lundqvist was pulled midway through the second period. In 25:29 of ice time, Georgiev made 13 saves on 14 shots; keeping the game from becoming a complete embarrassment for the Rangers.
CHRIS KREIDER: Midway through the first period, Chris Kreider was removed from the game for “precautionary reasons.” The Rangers have yet to elaborate further. This situation bares watching.
FIRSTS: Rob O’Gara tallied his first career point with an assist on Kevin Hayes’ third period goal.
The Rangers face Aleksander Barkov and the Panthers Saturday (March 10) at BB&T Center. Game time: 7 p.m. ET. Broadcast: MSG Networks.
Before the game, MSG Analyst Steve Valiquette said he expected it to be a four goal game for the Lightning.
He was off by one.