WHAT IT MEANS: In the 11th round of the shootout, the Rangers dropped a tough one, falling 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday Night at Madison Square Garden. The loss, the second to Tampa Bay in two meetings this season, drops the Rangers to 8-8-2 at home and to 20-14-2 overall. The Rangers have now lost two straight after a three-game win streak.
THE SHOOTOUT: In the 11th round, Lightning Left Wing Ryan Malone beat Henrik Lundqvist to end the shootout. The Rangers and Lightning each went seven rounds without a goal.
The Rangers and Lightning each scored twice in the first three shots. Erik Christensen and Mats Zuccarello each scored for New York, while Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman and Adam Hall scored. Zuccarello scored on the Rangers third attempt to tie the shootout, as the Lightning led 2-1.
SENDING IT TO OT: Trailing 3-2 more than halfway through the third period, the Rangers rallied for the game-tying goal. With just 8:42 left, Derek Stepan beat Lightning goalie Dan Ellis with a perfectly placed shot to the left post while Stepan was positioned right outside the right post to tie the game.
KING DOWN: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, while great in the shootout, lost in back-to-back games for just the second time this season. The seven goals he allowed in the losses to Tampa Bay and Philadelphia on Saturday are the most he's allowed in two starts since he allowed eight combined in a 5-1 loss to Colorado on Nov. 19 and a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Nov. 24.
ACTION IN THE FIRST: Sloppy turnovers and a lack of defense led to an action-paced first period that resulted in a 2-2 tie. Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead just two minutes into the game when Martin St. Louis intercepted a pass and beat Lundqvist to his stick side.
The Rangers later tied the game and took the lead in a span of 12 seconds. Ruslan Fedotenko tied the game at the 11:16 mark, and just 12 seconds later, Alex Frolov gave the Rangers the lead on a goal that seemed to have deflected off one of Tampa Bay’s defenders' skates. Fedotenko notched his sixth goal, while Frolov’s score was his seventh.
That wasn’t all the action in the first, however. Tampa tied the game with just 1:06 remaining in the period when a Rangers turnover in their own zone led to a goal by Steven Stamkos. It was Stamkos’ 27th goal of the season.
NOT CONVERTING: The Rangers outshot the Lightning in every period in regulation and 37-24 overall, but couldn’t convert enough of their opportunities to win the game in regulation. New York had a 10-7 edge in shots in each of the first two periods and a 17-7 edge in shots in the third period.
The Lightning did have a 3-0 advantage in shots in the five-minute overtime period.
THE DEBUT: Rookie Left Wing Mats Zuccarello had a memorable debut for the Blueshirts Thursday night. Zuccarello, an undrafted free agent signed by the Rangers on May 26, was called up from the Rangers AHL affiliate in Connecticut with Marian Gaborik out with a groin injury. He skated for 17:07 in regulation and had two shots.
His big moment, however, came in the shootout as Zuccarello scored on the Rangers third shot to extend the shootout.
UP NEXT: The Rangers will try and snap their losing streak against the suddenly red-hot Islanders Monday night at Madison Square Garden. It will be the fourth meeting between the teams this season, with the Rangers holding a 2-1 series edge.