Final

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Tampa Bay leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, October 21st
Lightning4Final
Rangers2
Game 2: Wednesday, October 30th
Rangers0Final
Lightning3
Game 3: Sunday, December 1st
Lightning3Final
Rangers4
Game 4: Sunday, December 29th
Rangers3Final
Lightning5

Lightning 3

(12-8-1, 28 pts)

Rangers 4

(11-12-0, 26 pts)

1:00 PM ET, December 1, 2002

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

1 2 3 T
TB 0 1 23
NYR 0 1 34

R. Petrovicky (Rangers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

P. Bure (Rangers - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

P. Nedved (Rangers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

Rangers able to hold on in third period

NEW YORK (AP) -- The third period was shaping up like so many others for the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Rangers have grown accustomed to watching leads slip away in the final 20 minutes. The Lightning have become adept at snatching points from opponents.

This time, the tables were turned.

Ronald Petrovicky and Pavel Bure scored in an 18-second span in the final three minutes to answer a Tampa Bay flurry and give the Rangers a 4-3 victory Sunday.

Andre Roy and Martin St. Louis scored 1:26 apart just moments earlier in what looked to be another successful rally by the Lightning. But Bure scored his second of the game at 17:22, and while that goal was being announced, Petrovicky lifted a shot over Nikolai Khabibulin to put the Rangers in front.

"I thought it was a very determined effort from everybody out there for 60 minutes,'' said Petr Nedved, who scored once and set up both Bure goals. "They came back very easily and boom, a couple of minutes after that we answered the bell.''

The Rangers, who have blown four leads in the third period this season, earned points against a winning team for the second straight game, after losing 7-4 to Atlanta, the NHL's second-worst club.

"Every game is a tough game in this league,'' Petrovicky said. "We have to come out every night and play like that every game.

"Hopefully, with a confidence builder in Dallas and tonight when we showed a strong, clean game, we'll continue that.''

The Lightning have rallied 11 times this season to earn points in games.

The Rangers had already lost twice this season to Tampa Bay, and appeared headed to their 20th loss to the young Lightning in 47 games.

"We're up 3-2 with three minutes left, we can't give up two goals like that. There's no excuses,'' Roy said. "I don't know if we're all overconfident or what.''

That was a notion that didn't sit well with Lightning coach John Tortorella.

"Overconfident? It's ridiculous to even think that we were overconfident,'' he said.

Tampa Bay has fallen into a 1-4-1 slump and has dropped behind Carolina in the Southeast Division.

"We have to play 60 minutes because they didn't give up,'' Roy said. "We need these points.''

Roy got Tampa Bay even at 2 with 6:43 left with his fifth goal, scored exactly 5 minutes after Petr Nedved gave the Rangers the lead. Then, at 14:43, St. Louis scored a power-play goal -- firing from the edge of the left circle for his 14th to make it 3-2.

Bure, publicly challenged this week by coach Bryan Trottier to pick up his play, finished a pretty three-way passing rush. Nedved streaked down the left side, passed to Radek Dvorak in the middle before the puck was quickly moved to Bure on the right for the goal.

It was Bure's team-high 11th goal and second in three games after he went 12 of 13 without scoring.

Trottier still wasn't completely pleased.

"Not entirely,'' he said. "Pav's still got to work a little more on defense.''

Nedved's 10th goal gave the Rangers their third power-play score in the last 12 chances after they went five games without one. Poti's assist stretched his point streak to six games (4 goals, 5 assists).

Ruslan Fedotenko scored a power-play goal earlier in the period to give Tampa Bay a lead it held for just over 12 minutes.

Petrovicky and Nedved teamed to set up Bure's goal at 17:27 of the second that tied it at 1. Petrovicky took a hard shot from the left circle and then got his own rebound. He sent a quick backhand pass to Bure, who easily scored into the open right side of the net.

"He is a smart guy,'' Nedved said of Bure. "He can really get open, and even the guys on the other team know he is dangerous. When you're playing with him, you know he's going to get open so you just try to get him the puck.''

New York's Dan Blackburn made 23 saves in his 12th straight start in place of injured Mike Richter. Khabibulin made 25 saves.

Game notes


Rangers C Bobby Holik missed his 17th straight game due to a hip flexor injury. He is expected to skate with the team Monday and hopes to return for Thursday's game in Philadelphia. ... The assists for Dan Boyle and Nolan Pratt gave Tampa Bay defensemen 50 points in 24 games this season. That group only had 23 points in the first 23 games last year. ... Vaclav Prospal, who helped set up Fedotenko's goal, leads the Lightning with 18 assists.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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