Chris Drury's "trick" was a week late for Halloween, but it was at just the right time for the suddenly, and surprisingly struggling New York Rangers.
The Rangers' captain's hat trick, along with 36 saves by Henrik Lundqvist, gave the Rangers a 5-2 win to snap a 2-game losing streak. Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal also scored for the Rangers, whose 11-4-1 record still remains atop the Eastern Conference standings despite their short slide.
Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone scored for Tampa Bay, who are now 4-4-4.
The Rangers opened the scoring late in the first period. Despite an even played period for the most part, the Rangers powerplay, 29th in the league entering the game, finally clicked. Off of a rush, Ryan Callahan took Nikolai Zherdev's pass and beat Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith for a 1-0 lead.
In the 2nd period, While killing off a controversial penalty to Zherdev, Drury scored his first goal of the game. Drury picked off a back pass, and deked Smith on a breakaway to put the puck into an empty net for a 2-0 lead.
However, St. Louis scored his 3rd goal of the season 1:24 remaining in the 2nd. On a partial breakaway, St. Louis fought off Dan Girardi, and beat Lundqvist with a backhand shot over the glove.
After a penalty to Marek Malik, who was booed by the Garden Faithful for the duration off the game, to end the 2nd period, Drury got his second goal of the game, 35 seconds into the 3rd period to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead.
Only 29 seconds after Malone cut the Rangers lead to 3-2, Staal wristshot beat Smith, with Aaron Voros screening the goaltender. It wasn't the last time in the game that Voros and Smith would meet in front of the Tampa Bay net.
With the Rangers on a 5-on-3 for two minutes, Voros made his way to the front of the Lightning net, where he would take a slash to the leg and two crosschecks to the back from Smith, which ended up with a fight between Smith and Voros.
Smith would end up receiving nine penalty minutes, and the Rangers had another 5-on-3 for two minutes. On the second 5-on-3, Drury picked up the hat trick, scoring on a rebound from a Dmitri Kalinin shot.
Amazingly, Drury, who has only scored in two of the Rangers sixteen games this season, is tied for the team lead in goals with 5.
The Rangers try to get back to back wins when they visit reigning MVP Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.