rangers recap: lightning zapped

On a night where Henrik Lundqvist graced his presence at Madison Square Garden once more, the New York Rangers, winners of two in a row, welcomed their foes from the south, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay stalwart Andrei Vasilevskiy started in goal for the Lightning, while Jonathan Quick manned the Ranger net for a second game in a row.

Jimmy Vesey netted two goals, while Jonathan Quick allowed only one goal and made 19 saves in his third consecutive start. Johnny Brodzinski also contributed to the Rangers’ success with a goal.┬áBrandon Hagel scored their lone goal for the Lightning, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 21 saves. Despite Nikita Kucherov’s assist on Hagel’s goal, the Lightning’s three-game winning streak ended after last night’s contest.

Vesey opened the scoring at 1:15 of the second period, followed by Brodzinski extending the lead to 2-0 at 17:46. Hagel cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1 at 5:29 of the third period. The Lightning had a power-play opportunity, but Victor Hedman hit the left post at 15:18. Vesey sealed the victory with an empty-net goal at 18:57 for the final score of 3-1.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev had to be stretchered off the ice with 13:00 remaining in the second period due to a left leg injury sustained while attempting a hit on Alexis Lafreniere. This game marked Sergachev’s return to play since December 19 after missing 17 games with a lower-body injury.

Overall, the Rangers effort was strong and kept a very high-octane Lightning team at bay. The team defense was sound and goaltending held up well. A positive effort and a welcome trend after a month of soul-draining hockey.