Late surge unable to lift Rangers past Lightning

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The Rangers entered tonight’s contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning as winner’s in four of their last five games. Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, that stat would become two losses in their last three contests as they fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 3-2.

Mats Zuccarello – With the Rangers trailing 3-0 in the second period, the Blueshirts quickly countered the Tampa Bay attack and the fan favorite Zuccarello snuck a shot through Louis Domingue to give the Rangers some life. Zuccarello has been the subject of many trade rumors as the NHL trade deadline gets closer and closer. The Norwegian forward has played his best hockey of the season since being placed alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on David Quinn’s top line. And while it’s great that Zuccarello is playing some fantastic hockey, he is all but guaranteed to be leaving New York City in the near future.

Kevin Hayes – Another player rumored to be on his way out of the friendly confines of MSG, Kevin Hayes got the Rangers within a goal with his power play tally in the third period. After Henrik Lundqvist made a quick outlet pass to Mika Zibanejad, the Swedish center feathered a beautiful pass to Hayes for the one-timer that beat Louis Domingue. It was a fantastic play all around, as Hayes tallied his 11th goal of the season.

Transition Kills – The Rangers were unable to deal with Tampa Bay’s transition game, as the Lightning capitalized on three opportunities to send the Blueshirts to defeat. A neutral zone turnover and two odd-man rushes, all of which had Jon Cooper’s defensemen jumping into the play, allowed Tampa to put three pucks behind Henrik Lundqvist. There aren’t many holes in the Lightning’s game, and their ability to quickly go from defense to offense is one of their best assets.

Next Game: The Blueshirts are back in action on Monday night as they host the LA Kings. Puck drops at 7!


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