Lightning lose OT thriller 1-0 to Rangers

A tremendous goalie battle yields no score through regulation for either side, but the Rangers eventually found the back of the net in overtime for the extra point.

The New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 in overtime at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Monday night.

The temptation this time of year is to assign the phrase “playoff-level intensity” to any good game, but that’s because often that label is accurate, such as in tonight’s game between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The game opened with as chippy and ill-tempered a period as we’ve seen all season, highlighted by a fight between New York’s Tanner Glass and the Lightning’s Luke Witkowski at 6:34 that did nothing in terms of settling things down. The animosity might seem a bit odd at first glance, since the two teams hadn’t seen each other since Oct. 30, when the Rangers swamped the Lightning 6-1. Then again, both teams are pushing for playoff berths, albeit with the Rangers in a much better position than the Lightning to make that happen.

The rough stuff calmed down to an extent after the first but not the fervor. The Rangers appeared to have an advantage in terms of speed and strength but neither team got an edge. Meanwhile, Antti Raanta for New York and Andrei Vasilevskiy for Tampa Bay were both spectacular in their respective nets. The fact that the outcome was 1-0 is not a surprise.

The Lightning started looking tired in the last eight minutes of the third period, icing the puck repeatedly. Still, they managed to hang on and make it into overtime to secure a point in the standings for their effort.

The lone goal came at 3:56 from Mika Zibanejad on an assist from Ryan McDonogh.

With the one point gained, the Lightning have 69 and trail the New York Islanders by two, the Toronto Maple Leafs by one and pull even with the Florida Panthers, all of whom were idle. The Lightning are off on Tuesday while Florida hosts the Rangers, Toronto will be home against the Detroit Red Wings and the Islanders will face the Oilers in Edmonton.

The Lightning are home again on Wednesday when they host the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Wild.