The New York Rangers (4-4-0) defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-2-0) by a score of 3-2.
The Rangers played mostly mistake-free hockey for the 1st period and entered the 2nd in a 0-0 tie. Then just three minutes into the period Stu Bickel took a horrible hooking penalty which would lead to a Steven Stamkos power play goal. Before taking the penalty Bickel had 2:36 of ice time, he finished the game with 3:27.
The Rangers would respond with three unanswered goals from three very relieved players.
Five minutes after Stamkos opened the scoring Derek Stepan finally got his name onto the goal column by picking up the garbage in front of the net. Carl Hagelin took the initial shot to earn his first point of the season. Early in the 3rd period Rick Nash scored a goal that only Rick Nash can score, using his body to hold of the defender and beat Garon with a backhand-forehand deke. A thing of beauty that should keep the fans from getting upset at the Rangers most consistent forward. Later in the 3rd period Hagelin registered his first goal in 37 games on a redirection of a Taylor Pyatt pass.
Steven Stamkos scored his second goal of the game with 21 seconds remaining, but the Rangers would hold on to get the victory.
Things I Loved:
- I loved the 2nd Line. When Ryan Callahan went down I said the Rangers would need Stepan AND Hagelin to make up for his loss and they both stepped up huge tonight. The relief on their faces after scoring was priceless. This line was all over the ice all game and made their presence known every shift. I can’t really complain about anything they did tonight. Just a big shot in the arm for the team.
- I loved Marty Biron. Biron is one of the hidden gems on this team. He is always ready to deliver in a big game and enables Hank to be as good as he is. He is good enough that Torts has enough faith to play him against a team on a roll and following a terrible loss. This lets Hank stay fresh and not get overworked. Definitely one of Sather’s better free agent moves.
- I loved Rick Nash’s goal. With the amount of chances he has been getting it was just a matter of time he was going to score a highlight reel goal.
- I loved the officiating. This is how a game should be called. The game flows so much better when they just let the players play.
Things I Did Not Love:
- I did not love Stu Bickel. I am still trying to comprehend how he has a roster spot. I am likely to repeat this comment until the Rangers scratch him for good. Otherwise there is nothing to complain about, except for maybe the faceoffs.