Mika Zibanejad late heroics powers Rangers past Lightning 2-1
The New York Rangers were coming off a tough loss to the NY Islanders and needed a big win in Tampa.
New York’s Mika Zibanejad ripped a game-winning, power-play goal with 16 seconds left in regulation as the visiting Rangers shocked Tampa Bay 2-1 to complete a season sweep of the Lightning on Saturday night.
The Lightning will be happy not to see Zibanejad again for awhile. He also scored the only goal in the shootout in a 4-3 win in Tampa on Dec. 31. He then posted a hat trick in a 4-0 win two days later against the Lightning in New York.
Recap: Rangers 2 vs Lightning 1
Left winger Brandon Hagel — acquired Friday in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Blackhawks — arrived in time for his Lightning debut. He skated on the third line with center Ross Colton and right winger Mathieu Joseph.
Sporting the Stadium Series jerseys they wore outdoors in Nashville in last month’s 3-2 win over the Predators, the Lightning’s efficiency on special teams was evident early in the match.
Their penalty-kill unit worked its prowess after a delay of game infraction at 5:50, then the power-play group put the home side up nearly 10 minutes later.
With Patrik Nemeth off for tripping Joseph, Victor Hedman fired a shot from the point, and the puck fell beneath Shesterkin, unaware of its presence.
Brayden Point scored on the power play, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the Lightning, who were 0-2-1 against the Rangers.
Big goal by Jacob Trouba
Jacob Trouba tied his career-high with his 10th goal, and Igor Shesterkin (30-8-3) stopped 28 of 29 shots for the Rangers, who swept the season series from Tampa Bay for the first time since 2012-13.
However, the whistle didn’t blow with the puck out of sight, and Point leaped in and jabbed it home for his 23rd tally and a 1-0 lead.
At 9:25 of the second, New York leveled the game at 1-all when a long shot by Alexis Lafreniere was gathered by Trouba, who deposited his 10th goal. He matched the number he netted in his rookie season in 2013-14.
Tampa Bay challenged for goalie interference on Dryden Hunt on the goal, but it was upheld. The Lightning were assessed a delay of game penalty but were effective again playing a man down.
“It’s a tight checking, low scoring game,” Trouba said after the second. “They’re a good team and we can play with them. Looking to finish off strong and get the win.”
Mika Zibanejad wins it late
New York struggled on the man advantage all night going 0-5, but after an accidental high stick by Erik Cernak on Chris Kreider they would get one last chance.
From the left circle, Zibanejad one-timed a cross-ice pass from Artemi Panarin for his third game-winning marker against the Lightning this season.
Saturday’s goal was his 25th this season and 13th on the power play. New York went 1-for-6 on the man advantage.
“They did a good job on the PK, but we complicated things a bit,” Zibanejad said. “In the end we got the PP goal and a big win. We’ve just to keep going.”
- Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 of 29 shots
- Jacob Trouba tied his career high in goals at 10
- Filip Chytil has 3 assists in his last 4 games
- Mika Zibanejad picked up his 25th goal of the season
Tomorrow (Sunday, Mar. 20): Gerard Gallant Availability at PNC Arena (4:00 PM ET)
Next Game: Sunday, Mar. 20 at Carolina Hurricanes (6:00 PM ET – TV: MSG PLUS)
*Schedule subject to change
NHL Trade: Claude Giroux heads to Panthers
Claude Giroux will join the Florida Panthers in their quest for a Stanley Cup. Read more about the trade here.
–Field Level Media contributed to this article