Friday, March 2, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Lightning 4, Rangers 3 (OT)
By Katie Strang
What it means: Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone spoiled Henrik Lundqvist's 30th birthday, beating the goaltender in overtime with a snap-shot off the post to give the Lightning a 4-3 OT win over the Rangers. The Bolts erased a two-goal deficit to keep themselves within striking distance of the last playoff spot in the East while halting the Rangers' winning streak at three games.
Dubinsky out doghouse: Before Friday's game, coach John Tortorella made it clear he was still fuming over Brandon Dubinsky’s “stupid” penalty that led to a power-play goal in Thursday’s 3-2 win over the ‘Canes. He told reporters in Tampa that he’d have scratched Dubinsky if his team wasn’t already so hobbled by injuries. It's a good thing he didn't do so.
Although Dubinsky began the game with the fourth line, he earned a promotion to play with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik and responded by scoring the game-tying goal with 3:27 to play in the third.
Dubinsky was benched Thursday after his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first period and did not play for the remainder of the game.
Losing the lead: The Rangers let a 2-0 lead dissolve as the Lightning scored three straight goals Friday. League-leading goal-scorer Steven Stamkos sniped his 45th of the season for a 3-2 Bolts lead at 10:17 in the third before Dubinsky knotted the teams at 3 with less than four minutes to play.
Teddy ties it: Lightning forward Teddy Purcell tied the game at 2 at 3:37 in the third period, scoring after a key faceoff win by Bolts alternate captain Martin St. Louis. Purcell extended his point streak to eight games with the goal.
Two down: Already without their captain Ryan Callahan (foot) Thursday night, the Rangers were hit with another key loss with an injury to Michael Del Zotto (hip). Both players sat out Friday’s match and are questionable for Sunday’s game against the Bruins. With Del Zotto out, defenseman Jeff Woywitka played for the first time in over two months. Fellow blue-liner Steve Eminger remained a healthy scratch.
Another for Anisimov:Artem Anisimov scored his second goal in as many games as he gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first. Anismov tallied his 12th of the season with his shot from the left circle at 10:09 that beat Bolts goaltender Mathieu Garon.
Lightning jolt: With his secondary assist on Marian Gaborik’s 31st goal of the season -- a power-play goal that gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead at 2:43 of the second – Brad Richards has three goals and seven assists in seven career games against his former team. Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004 when he led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup Championship.