- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Lundqvist's season-high, three-game winning streak came to an end as the Lightning pulled out a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist surrendered two goals within a stretch of nine seconds in the second period, while his offense was stymied by Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.
The loss ended a three-game winning streak by the Rangers.
"It's tough. I thought we played a really strong game. We had a lot of energy, a lot of speed, created a lot of chances. It was a good hockey game," Lundqvist said. "Just came up a little short. [Bishop] played really well. He made some great saves, we had some good opportunities in front. With some luck, we definitely could have had at least a point today."
It's been a frustrating season for Lundqvist, who dropped to 15-17-3 with the loss, but lately he's shown signs of improvement. In his previous three games, all Rangers wins, Lundqvist had allowed a combined five goals on 101 shots, never allowing more than two in a game. In his 15 games leading up to this three-game stretch, Lundqvist had allowed two or fewer goals in just three games.
Tuesday, Lundqvist was sharp once again, stoning 23 shots, but it wasn't enough against Bishop, who stopped 33. With the Rangers up 1-0 and on the penalty kill early in the second, Victor Hedman beat Lundqvist to tie the game. Lundqvist said he picked up the puck too late.
Nine seconds later, Lundqvist couldn't stop Nikita Kucherov on a breakaway and the Lightning took the lead for good. A pair of Rangers' mishaps off the faceoff -- notably defenseman Michael Del Zotto getting beat down the ice -- left the Rangers' goalie in a tough position.
"I don't think it was bad goals. There were some good plays. The important thing for me is to try to give the team a chance to be close in the end, and we were. I played my game. With that I'm happy," Lundqvist said. "With the result obviously not satisfying, but it was a lot of good things tonight we can bring to the next game, but right now we're looking to get points in every game. We need it."
Lundqvist credited the 6-foot-7 Bishop for his performance.
"He's been playing really well all year. He's a big goalie and he uses his size really well. Got to give him some credit here," Lundqvist said. "We did a lot of good things and created a lot of good chances in front, but even when he doesn't see the puck, he's big, so the puck hits him. He was also making good reads out there. He played a strong game."
Callahan claims innocence: Tampa Bay's first goal came on the power play as Ryan Callahan was whistled for high-sticking.
Callahan said he didn't commit the penalty.
"[I was told] that it was my stick that hit him," Callahan said. "I told [the referee] that [Eric] Brewer lifted my stick there; play was dead, so I'm not really holding my stick too tight. Even Brewer apologized and said it was him. It's a tough one to take."
18hPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald