Lightning double up Rangers 6-3 with huge third period

NHL: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Anthony Duclair led the Lightning to a 6-3 win against the New York Rangers on Thursday night in Tampa Bay. The trio helped the Lightning erase a 2-0 Rangers’ first-period lead, and a 3-2 third-period advantage, and took over the back half of the final period with four unanswered goals.

Point registered a hat trick and three assists on the night and Kucherov had a goal and four assists.

Artemi Panarin, Braden Schneider and Jack Roslovic scored for the Rangers, whose three-game win streak ended. Igor Shesterkin stopped 22 of 27 shots.

Related: Matt Rempe must learn to keep reckless play in check for Rangers

Tampa Bay Lightning 6 vs New York Rangers 3

NHL: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers opened the game with one of their more dominant periods of the season. In the first 10 seconds, Chris Kreider had a great opportunity on a semi-breakaway off the opening face-off but was stopped by Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Shortly after, Shesterkin got himself into the game when Steven Stamkos was left wide open in the high slot and Igor flashed a beautiful glove save. Shesterkin stopped all five shots he faced in the opening period.

Later in the first, Vincent Trocheck was able to catch Victor Hedman pinching and broke out on a 2-on-1 with Panarin. Trocheck had a gorgeous toe drag around a defender and fed Panarin who scored into a wide open net at 13:58. Panarin now has four goals in two games played in Tampa Bay this season.

New York scored again just a little under three minutes later. Jack Roslovic made a nifty move, trying to go between his legs as he came into the offensive zone. He settled the puck down and banked a pass off the end boards to Mika Zibanejad, who immediately found Braden Schneider in front, and the defenseman snapped a shot past  Vasilevskiy on the far side. The Rangers carried that 2-0 lead into the intermission.

Panarin created the first high-quality chance for the Rangers in the second period. He stripped Hedman of the puck and took off with Alexis Lafreniere on a 2-on-1. Panarin looked to pass the whole way and when he finally did, his pass was blocked, negating the chance.

The Lightning swung the momentum off a brutal turnover by Jonny Brodzinski at his own blue line and it led to a 2-on-1 with the two most dangerous players on the ice for Tampa Bay. Kucherov fed Point, who scored at 12:41. That ended Shesterkin’s shutout streak, which included shutouts in his previous two starts.

Duclair found the loose puck and buried it into a wide open net to tie the game 2-2 at 18:43.

With the theme of the period being self inflicted wounds and Rangers turnovers, Schneider committed an egregious one at the end of the second, but Stamkos couldn’t get the shot off as time expired leaving the game knotted at two.

The Rangers regained the lead, though, after Adam Fox found Roslovic,for his first goal in four games since being acquired ahead of the NHL trade deadline at 1:48 of the third period.

However, the Lightning came right back to tie the game less than two minutes later on Point’s second goal of the night.

It all got away from the Rangers after Will Cuylle was called for slashing Kucherov, putting Tampa on the power play with 7:52 left in the third period. Point set up Stamkos with a nifty pass and the power-play goal gave the Lightning their first lead, 4-3.

Point completed his hat trick with his 36th goal at 14:48 and Kucherov hit the empty-net for the 6-3 final.

The Rangers close out a three-game road trip when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon. Puck drop is set for 3:00 p.m. ET.

Steven Pappas is a North Jersey native who works as a news anchor and reporter at WHAM-13 in Rochester,... More about Steven Pappas

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