We saw it right from the start. Dana Tyrell surged off of the puck drop, for a quick attack against the Ranger's goal. Henrik Lundqvist stopped the shot, but not the strong start.
And Tyrell wasn't the only one. Lightning defense were solid in the first period, especially Victor Hedman and Mattias Ohlund, who did well against the Ranger's aggression.
At 13:03, Nate Thompson set up an opportunity, which Tyrell took to the net. Tyrell took the puck from Purcell and came up the right side of the ice. The shot didn't go as he intended, but it slid under Lundqvist's left skate, opening the scoring 1-0.
Tryell looked pumped, especially after all of the opportunities he has had in recent weeks.
"It's nice to put one in," he said. "I've had lots of chances, lots of breakaways I've missed. Hopefully they'll start coming in here now."
The Bolts ended the first period ahead at 1-0, totaling 10 shots against the Ranger's 7, and with a 63% faceoff win percentage.
The Rangers came out with fervor in the second period, but failed to score despite 13 more shots against Cedric Desjardins. There was a bit of roughing, including agression between Dominic Moore and Brandon Dubinsky.
The Lightning carried out the effort until the end, holding the lead until Marian Gaborik scored with 45.6 seconds left. The goal coincided with Martin St. Louis getting slashed near the right circle, which wasn't called, giving the Lightning the disadvantage on the goal.
Suddenly the game wasn't over yet, pushing the game into overtime.
The Bolts wasted no time. The opening line of Thompson, Tyrell, and Moore capitalized in 19 seconds, as Mike Lundin passed the puck to Tyrell, who brought the puck up the left side of the ice. Thompson, set up in front of the goal, took the pass from Tyrell and scored for the Lightning win.
Besides the fantastic Thompson-Tyrell duo, Cedric Desjardins was smashing, with 34 saves against the New York Rangers. Having a good goaltending was crucial, not only defensively, but letting the offense push forward.
"It's huge. When we have big saves like that, at key moments in the game, that's who you need. He did that throughout the game. You can't say enough about him. He had a heck of a game tonight."
The question of Lightning goaltending gets considerably more interesting, with the post game news of the Lightning trading Ty Wishart for New York Islander's goaltender Dwayne Roloson. In 20 games with the Islanders this season, Roloson has a .916 save percentage, and a 2.64 goals against average.
Boucher noted afterwards that despite the improvement with Dan Ellis, and especially Cedric Desjardins, Steve Yzerman was interested in the opportunity Roloson holds for the Lightning. This means that Desjardins will head back to the AHL, leaving the Lightning with three goaltenders.
"Roloson has played outstanding this year. Sometimes opportunities pass by, and you miss them. That was an opportunity we felt we wanted to jump on," said Boucher.
Boucher noted the difficulty of making move decisions, but was pleased with the opportunity.
"Now I've got to get accustomed to having someone else, and getting to know that person, and helping them move forward. That's my job."
With a great start to the new year, the Lightning (23-11-5), who have now beat the Rangers in three of four games this season, will next play the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, January 4 at 7:00 PM in Washington.
Rangers vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Blueshirt Banter [SB Nation]
Rangers vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]