Rangers Recall: A lesson learned in Tampa

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

The New York Rangers came out full steam ahead in the first period to build a 2-0 lead over the Lightning in Tampa on Tuesday night. They probably should’ve paced themselves better, because by the time the third period rolled along, the Blueshirts ran out of fuel.

When it was all said and done, they were bowled over by a final score of 6-3 courtesy of Brayden Point, who finished the game with six points (three goals, three assists).

“Kind of a good lesson for us going forward here,” forward Jimmy Vesey said. “The playoff games have a lot of momentum swings and we’ve got to learn to manage that.”

The jammed-pack schedule of March is almost halfway done. New York is 3-2-1 with another eight games to play. That’s simply a lot of hockey in a short time, with another back-to-back set this weekend. First, they take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday, and the New York Islanders at home on Sunday.

Both games are very winnable, so long as they learned their lesson in Tampa.

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

Turnovers and Breakdowns

The Rangers landed in Tampa feeling really good about themselves after winning their third straight game in style by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0 on Tuesday night.

If a few players opted to go soak in some Florida sunshine, it was well deserved and paid off early in the contest. New York dominated the first period, but struggled to put the Bolts away with a critical third goal. Even with two power-play opportunities to get it done, the Rangers failed to generate anything and most likely produced more momentum for the home team.

Then the downfall began in the second period off an egregious turnover by Jonny Brodzinski to get the Lightning on the board and starting the Brayden Point show at Amalie Arena. Defensive zone breakdowns highlighted the second goal of the middle stanza.

From there, it was a combination of turnovers and breakdowns that saw Tampa score four unanswered goals, even though New York took the lead early in the third period.

“A pretty good first half of the game,” coach Peter Laviolette explained. “They’ve got a couple of really dangerous players on their side and they hurt us.”

At the end of the day, the Rangers were playing their third game in four nights with travel. They were also coming off a very hard-fought and emotional win versus the Hurricanes, who are chasing them for first in the Metropolitan Division. Meanwhile, the Lightning are fighting for their playoff lives coming into last night only up two points over the Islanders and Detroit Red Wings for the two wild card berths in the East. Tampa was clearly the more hungry team and it showed in the final 20 minutes.

It’s not an excuse, it’s just a reality.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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