The Rangers would attempt another late comeback and they would succeed at least in getting it to extra time when Derek Stepan would take a beautiful feed from Brandon Dubinsky and make an even prettier play in patiently deking around a sprawling Dan Ellis and tucking the puck in the net at 11:18 of the third period. The team would get it to OT and eventually the shootout and other than beautiful moves by both Erik Christensen and Mats Zuccarello they would go scoreless the other 9 rounds in an 11 round marathon that was eventually ended by Ryan Malone.
The team controlled play in this game and if not for the defensive breakdowns that led to all three goals for Tampa they easily win this game. Part of the problem was once again the Rangers utter failure to consistently hit the net, and at times ever hit it. If anyone doubts the young skill that is going to take over this team just watch the games Anisimov, Stepan and Zuccarello had and the fact that to start the OT Tortorella felt comfortable enough to have Stepan and Zuccarello as his two forwards.
The first period saw the Rangers control the play, but two bad turnovers would see the score tied 2-2 at the end of one. The first bad turnover came in the first two minutes as Michal Rozsival pulled an Eli Manning staring down his receiver and Martin St. Louis stepped in front to intercept and he drove into the Rangers zone and beat Lundqvist with a beautiful shot 2:00 into the game.
The Rangers would play solid down a goal with Zuccarello being arguably their best forward, especially when around the 8 minute mark he made a beautiful backhand pass to Brandon Dubinsky, but Dubinsky would hit the pipe.
The Rangers would finally get on the board at 11:16 when Brian Boyle would deliver a hit in the corner and the puck would work to Ruslan Fedotenko who would break his stick but somehow get the puck through Dan Ellis on a shot Ellis has got to stop. Just 12 seconds later the Rangers would take the lead. Victor Hedman would turn the puck over in the neutral zone, it would be played to Chris Drury along the boards at center ice who quickly fed it to Anisimov who drove hard and shot leading to a goal mouth scramble that Alex Frolov would finish making it 2-1 Rangers 11:28 into the game.
The Rangers would have decent control of the action for most of the rest of the period until the defense would come up with another awful turnover. Girardi in attempting to work the puck out of his own zone while taking pressure from Stamkos would pass the puck right to Martin St. Louis. St. Louis would take the puck and on the two-on-one make a beautiful between the legs backhand feed to Stamkos who roofed it for a 2-2 game with just 1:06 left in the period.
The second period was more of the same with the Rangers controlling the play, even more than the first, but not having the scoreboard indicate the game flow. Finally at 14:42 of the second a goal would come but it would be Tampa as it was a complete defensive breakdown leading to the goal. Marc Staal had Pavel Kubina along the wall but instead of looking to play the body he went down to play the pass but never got it. Dan Girardi instead of playing LeCavalier in front also went over to block the pass and Zuccarello failed to take the puck side in front all leading to a tap in for Vinny to make it 3-2 Tampa.
- Anisimov, Dubinsky and Stepan all had excellent games
- Zuccarello was also excellent showing a belief that he belonged at this level and bringing some brash attitude to go with it. Made some beautiful passes, showed off a very good shot and what can you say about his shootout goal.
- Frolov played a very engaged game
- Avery was impactful in his limited time
- Christensen was once again invisible other than a shootout specialist.
- Defensively other than the huge blunders thought the team played well on the back end