New York Rangers head into New Year with a Goody win over defending Champs

Mika Zibanejad fired in the only goal in the shootout as the New York Rangers won 4-3 over the host Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.

In the shootout’s bottom of the third round, Zibanejad — who left the game briefly after being hit in the head with a puck — skated in slightly from the left and sent a forehander to beat Brian Elliott glove-side for the game-winning goal.

The Rangers closed out 2021 with an electrifying victory that was led by a key offseason acquisition.

Barclay Goodrow leads Rangers to a win

Alexis Lafreniére opened the scoring for the Blueshirts with an unassisted goal, but it was Barclay Goodrow scoring twice against his former team that lifted the team.

Goodrow’s day started by receiving his Stanley Cup ring from the Lightning and a standing ovation from the Tampa fans after a video tribute.

“I had a tough time napping today, I was pretty excited,” Goodrow said via NHL.com. “But when the puck drops you are able to put all the other things aside and just focus on the game. I think you could see by my reactions after the goals I was pretty excited. It was a great game and I’m happy for the effort the guys put out tonight.”

The 2 time Cup winner with the Lightning’s evening also included a short-handed goal which all earned him first-star honors for the game.

“Real happy for him,” Gallant said about Goodrow. “Perfect ending to his story tonight after getting his Stanley Cup ring. Good for him.”

Barclay Goodrow
TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 31: Barclay Goodrow #21 of the New York Rangers celebrates a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena on December 31, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)

New York Rangers get a big win to close out 2021

In his first career appearance against Tampa Bay, Igor Shesterkin (25 saves) stopped Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point to record his 40th career win in his 67th game.

Stamkos tallied on the power play and had an assist, Ross Colton scored and Corey Perry found the net with an extra skater on the ice in the game’s final two minutes. Ondrej Palat recorded two helpers.

With No. 1 goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy remaining in COVID protocol, backup Elliott came out of it and stopped 20 of 23 shots for the Lightning, who were 9-2-1 in December.

Forward Pat Maroon was slotted into the starting lineup and skated in his 600th NHL game.

A night after being pasted 9-3 by Florida – their most goals surrendered since a 9-3 home blowout against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 7, 2009 – the Lightning went up 1-0 when Stamkos one-timed a pass from Hedman for his 15th goal from the top of the left circle.

While being pressured by Julien Gauthier in the second frame, Elliott sent a poor clearing attempt from behind the net right to Lafreniere, who tallied for the seventh time – unassisted — into the unoccupied net at 5:30.

Another miscue by Elliott with the Lightning on an abbreviated power play led to the Rangers’ first lead.

Given his Stanley Cup ring earlier in the day by his former team and welcomed by his ex-teammates, Goodrow slipped his fifth goal through Elliott’s pads at 14:30 after the goalie’s pass was stolen by Greg McKegg.

A trailing Colton took a pass from Point and tied it at 2 by whistling home his fourth goal at 17:31.

Down 3-2 after Goodrow’s second goal with 6:25 left in regulation, the Lightning pulled Elliott with 2:25 left and Perry evened it at 3 just 28 seconds later.

In the shootout, it was all Shesterkin followed by a game-decider off Zibanejad’s stick.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this article