In a glaring example of why some games should end in a tie, the New York Rangers edged the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, in a shootout on Friday night. Steven Stamkos, Ross Colton, and Corey Perry scored for the Lightning while Brian Elliott made 20 saves in his return from COVID protocol. Barclay Goodrow scored twice in his return to Tampa while Alexis Lafreniere added a goal. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 25 shots (plus a gorgeous save on Brayden Point in the skills competition) for the win.
Along with Elliott, Mikhail Sergachev and Andrej Sustr returned to the roster as their quarantines ended in time for the game. Gabriel Fortier drew back into the line-up as well.
The Lightning really needed a strong first period to kick things off and they delivered one of their best of the season. They were quick with puck (especially to get it out of the zone), defended their zone well, and peppered the Rangers’ zone with shots. One of the glaring faults with the loss to the Panthers on Thursday was the amount of space Florida had in front of the goaltenders. Tonight there was not much space or time for the Rangers when they had the puck.
Of the nine shot attempts New York had in the period, only three found their way to Brian Elliott and he stopped them all. The players in front of him covered their zone really well. There was a moment early in the period where Elliott was scrambling a bit and it looked like the Rangers had an opportunity, but they couldn’t get a clean shot off because the Lightning skaters were draped all over them.
Offensively, the Lightning knew they were going to have to get a lot of shots off and get them off quickly because the Rangers love blocking shots. In fact, they managed to block five of the Lightning’s attempts in that period alone. It is, however, really hard to block a Steven Stamkos shot when it’s in his wheelhouse.
Late in the period the Lightning were on the power play thanks to Ryan Reaves getting caught retaliating to some Corey Perry shenanigans. They won the face-off and Victor Hedman fed the puck to Stamkos who whipped it on net before any defender could get in front of it or Shesterkin could slide into place. Just like that it was 1-0.
First Period Numbers (at 5v5):
Shot Attempts - 15-7 Lightning
High Danger Chances - 3-1 Lightning
Scoring Chances - 8-3 Lightning
Goals - 0-0
Expected Goal Percentage - 79.2% - Lightning
The Rangers responded to the Lightning pressure in the second period with cleaner play and a little more speed. They were also gifted a couple of goals by Brian Elliott, who even on his best day isn’t being confused for Martin Brodeur in the stickhandling department. The first one he was a bit rushed behind the net when he tried to clear the puck and he ended up scuffing it directly to Alexis Lafreniere who gunned it into the empty net to tie the game.
New York definitely picked up the pace of play after the goal and Elliott responded with a few nice saves before committing another suboptimal play. This time his cross-ice pass was picked off and while Elliott made it back into the crease in time to prevent another empty net goal, he wasn’t set when old friend Barclay Goodrow slipped it home.
While the Lightning controlled play at 5v5, it wasn’t by the wide margin they displayed in the first period. They also failed to convert on their power play chances, without really generating much danger.
Brayden Point and Corey Perry did find the iron in the period while Shesterkin made a key save on Ryan McDonagh. The Lightning did find the equalizer late in the period when Brayden Point drove into the Rangers’ zone with speed which forced the defense back. That left space for the trailer, Ross Colton, and Point put the puck in a great spot for Colton to hammer it past the goaltender.
Second Period Stats (at 5v5):
Shot Attempts - 13-11 Lightning
High Danger Chances - 4-1
Scoring Chances - 10-5
Goals - 1-1
Expected Goal Percentage - 63.22% - Lightning
Third Period and Overtime:
While the shot counter didn’t reflect it, the ice seemed to open up a little in the third period as both teams had rushes up and down the ice including a frantic 30 second stretch where Brian Elliott had to make a big save right after Ondrej Palat slid a shot just wide of the open net at the other end of the ice.
Barclay Goodrow gave the Rangers the lead almost 14 minutes into the period when he deflected a shot from Artemi Panarin. It was a nice goal, but the Lightning were absolutely livid with the officiating as the play came off of a face-off win in the Tampa Bay zone that they felt should have never happened. Just prior to the face-off it appeared Brayden Point had done enough to negate an icing, but the linesman felt otherwise and brought the action down to the Lightning zone.
More inexperienced teams may have been rattled by that, but the Tampa Bay Find-a-Ways did what they’ve done all year - found a way. With Elliott on the bench and two minutes to go, Stamkos rifled a shot on net that Shesterkin stopped, but the puck dropped in front where Corey Perry fished it out of his skates and popped it into the back of the net to tie the game at 3.
Elliott got them to overtime as the period ended with the Lightning shorthanded after Sergachev lifted a puck into the stands. The Tampa Bay netminder made three key saves down the stretch, including a nifty one with the handle of his stick. The regulation buzzer buzzed with the teams still tied and the game went to bonus hockey.
Overtime was...five minutes of hockey. Both teams seemed wary of the speed of their opponents so they were more focused on maintaining possession of the puck instead of pressing for offense.
Victor Hedman - saved
Kaapo Kakko - saved
Steven Stamkos - (maybe saved) or wide
Artemi Panarin - saved
Brayden Point - save of the game
Mika Zibanejad - goal
Third Period Stats (at 5v5):
Shot Attempts - 12-5 - Lightning
High Danger Chances - 3-0 Lightning
Scoring Chances - 7-3 Lightning
Goals - 0-1 Rangers
Expected Goal Percentage - 73.63% - Lightning
Steven Stamkos (Victor Hedman, Ondrej Palat) Power Play 1-0 Lightning
Alexis Lafreniere (unassisted) 1-1
Barclay Goodrow (Greg McKegg) 2-1 Rangers
Ross Colton (Brayden Point, Alex Killorn) 2-2
Barclay Goodrow (Artemi Panarin, K’Andre Miller) 3-2 Rangers
Corey Perry (Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn) 3-3