- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Finally, the Rangers have a winning record.
It took 11 games but the Rangers are finally above .500 after defeating the Lightning, 5-1, on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers (6-5) have won two in a row and are also 2-0 against Tampa Bay.
TWICE AS NICE: Carl Hagelin must like playing Tampa Bay. The forward scored two goals on Sunday, meaning all three of his tallies have come against the Lightning. The speedster scored in the first and in the second, the latter giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead. It marked the first time he scored two goals since December 2010, when he did it against the Sabres and the Islanders. The Rangers need Hagelin and Derek Stepan to provide secondary scoring, and on this night, Hagelin came through. He now has three goals in his last four games.
GIRARDI RETURNS: Defenseman Dan Girardi made his return after missing the past two games due to being "banged up" and immediately aided the Rangers. Just 31 seconds in, he tallied an assist, his third of the year, on Hagelin's first goal. Despite missing two games, Girardi was right back in the mix as he led the team with 14:59 of ice time through the first two periods. He averages 24:55 per game.
FAST AND FURIOUS: The Rangers tied a season-high by notching two goals in the first period, and also posting a season-best 15 shots in that first period. It marked the second straight game the Rangers have been able to get off to a hot start by scoring two in the first period. Sunday, the Rangers created opportunities and stayed on the attack. That intensity didn't carry to the second period, though, as they had just eight shots that stanza.
FIRST ONE: Enforcer Arron Asham scored his first goal of the Rangers in the third period to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead. The Rangers didn't sign Asham to be a scorer, but any goals he can provide are an added bonus. He had just five in each of the last two seasons with Pittsburgh.
STILL POWERLESS: The Rangers went 0-for-3 on the power play and now are 4-for-40 on the year. There's really not much more to add to that.
UP NEXT: The Rangers head to Boston on Tuesday to face the Bruins for the third time this season. The Bruins bested the Rangers on opening night but the Rangers won in overtime at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 23.
35dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald