The New York Rangers won a thriller at Madison Square Garden last night, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime. This marked the second time this year that the Rangers defeated the Lightning, and the first time that they did so at home.
The first period was, for the most part, quiet scoring-wise, and other than a Brandon Dubinsky slashing penalty early in the period, there were no penalties. This all changed towards the end of the period, when a giveaway by the Rangers at the red line led to Steven Stamkos going in and beating Rangers goaltender Martin Biron to put the Lightning up 1-0 heading into the first intermission.
The second period was a much different story. It was full of excitement, scoring and some hold-your-breath moments.
The most shocking event of the night happened five minutes into the second period: the Rangers scored on the power play. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan put a goal past Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon on the man advantage to tie the game up at one.
Less than a minute later, Rangers forward Derek Stepan put in another one to give the Rangers their first lead of the game at 2-1. This did not last long, however, because 21 seconds later, Lightning veteran Vincent Lecavalier scored to tie the score once again at two.
Later in the period, the Lightning would strike again, this time on a power-play goal off the stick of Bruno Gervais. The Lightning headed into the locker room with the lead again, this time 3-2.
The third period, much like the first, was rather quiet. Minus a cheap elbow to Rangers winger Ruslan Fedotenko by the Lightning's Dominic Moore, there was not too much to get excited about in the third.
Then in the 11th minute of the period, the Rangers would answer to tie the game. Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin tried to dump the puck behind the net, but it was hit by a Lightning defender. The puck then trickled out to the center of the ice to the stick of Brain Boyle, who wound up a slap shot that flew right past Garon, tying the score at three.
The game was tied at the end of regulation and the two teams headed into overtime, where a likely hero rose to the occasion. About two-and-a-half minutes into the overtime, the Rangers' Artem Anisimov dropped the puck off to the side of the net to a diving Brad Richards, who put it in on his stomach for the score and the Rangers victory.
This was a big win for the Rangers, and a big win for Richards as well. Richards had been in a huge scoring drought and so had the Rangers' power play. In last night's game, both droughts were ended and the Rangers came up with the big win.
The Rangers' next game is Saturday afternoon on the road against the division rival, second-place Philadelphia Flyers.