Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
February, 9, 2012
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
What it means: Brian Boyle buried a slapshot from the left circle midway through the third to tie the game at 3 and force overtime, but Brad Richards delivered the real late-game heroics. Richards tallied the game-winner with 2:23 to play in OT to give the Rangers a 4-3 win over his former Lightning team. Richards, who entered Thursday's match with only one goal in the past 12 games, scored his team-leading seventh game-winning goal of the season.
Power on: The Rangers tallied their first power-play goal in six games Thursday, tying the game at 1 with captain Ryan Callahan's 18th goal of the season at 4:33 of the second. Callahan tipped in defenseman Michael Del Zotto's twice-deflected slapshot to boost the Rangers’ struggling special teams unit.
Head case: Former Bolt Ruslan Fedotenko left the ice early in the third period, after an elbow to the head from Tampa Bay's Dominic Moore. Moore was sent to the penalty box with a roughing minor while Fedotenko remained down on the ice for several minutes. The veteran grinder was helped off the ice and toward the trainer's room, looking wobbly after the high hit.
Quick strikes: After Callahan’s equalizer, the Rangers and Lightning traded quick goals 21 seconds apart. As Derek Stepan's 4-on-4 goal was being announced, Lightning captain Vinny LeCavalier tallied to knot the teams at two goals apiece. Lightning defenseman Bruno Gervais then reclaimed the lead for Tampa Bay later in the period, beating former Islanders teammate Martin Biron with a power-play goal at 12:26.
Stammer time: Capitalizing on a Rangers turnover in the neutral zone, former first overall pick Steve Stamkos beat goaltender Martin Biron with a diving backhander for a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead late in the first period. Stamkos leads the NHL with 36 goals; Toronto’s Phil Kessel trails him by six goals for second place.
Back in blue: Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger returned to the lineup after missing almost two months with a separated right shoulder. The 28-year-old played for the first time since suffering the injury Dec. 17 -- paired with fellow blue-liner Marc Staal -- and took a costly penalty in the second that led to Tampa Bay's go-ahead goal. Defenseman Stu Bickel was a healthy scratch.
Up next: Rangers at Flyers, Saturday at 1 p.m.