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game recap

Michael Grabner hat trick helps Rangers to win

Four players score, Antti Raanta makes 31 saves against slumping Lightning

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers left wing Michael Grabner had his first hat trick in more than five-and-a-half years, and goalie Antti Raanta made 31 saves in a 6-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Raanta, starting for the second time this season, lost his shutout bid with 3:24 remaining in the third period, when Lightning center Steven Stamkos scored a power-play goal.

Grabner's hat trick, his first since Feb. 11, 2011, and the third of his NHL career, highlighted a dominating night for the Rangers' third line, which had four goals and five assists. Right wing J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists, and center Kevin Hayes had three assists. Each was plus-4.

"They're great players, have a lot of skill, so I just tried to open up some room for them," Grabner said. "I used my speed and it worked. I thought we had a lot of chances as a line and could have had more."

Video: TBL@NYR: Grabner scores second goal of the game

Right wing Rick Nash had two points, scoring a breakaway goal and assisting on linemate Jimmy Vesey's goal. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh had an assist for the seventh straight game.

Nash, Grabner and Vesey scored in a 2:19 span in the second period to give the Rangers (6-3-0) a 3-0 lead. Miller scored late in the second, and Grabner scored twice more in the third.

The Lightning (5-4-0) lost their third straight game, all in regulation. Goalie Ben Bishop made 31 saves.

"We parked the bus up to the arena, our whole team got in all the passenger seats and nobody got in the driver's seat," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "When that happens, it's not going to be good."

Video: TBL@NYR: Nash opens scoring with top-shelf snap shot

The key sequence was the 2:19 stretch in the second, when the Rangers scored three goals on five shots.

Nash made it 1-0 with a breakaway goal at 4:45, a result of a Lightning turnover in the Rangers zone. Grabner scored his first at 6:42 from the right circle off a pretty passing and spacing sequence with Hayes and defenseman Brady Skjei for a 2-0 lead.

Vesey scored 22 seconds later off another Lightning turnover to make it 3-0.

Miller gave New York a 4-0 lead with 1:50 left in the second. Grabner scored twice more in the third, on a breakaway at 9:02 and off a 2-on-1 with Hayes at 14:47 to complete his hat trick.

"I just kind of blanked out I guess," Grabner said. "It was a great play by [Hayes], and I just kind of went to the net. The last thing I remember is [Hayes] jumping on me."

Video: TBL@NYR: Vesey scores off feed from Nash

 

Goal of the game

Grabner's first goal started with Hayes curling up toward the right point and finding Skjei cutting down into the left circle. Skjei got the puck, drew Bishop and the Lightning defense to him, and sent a pass up to Grabner in the right circle for a one-timer into what was an open net with Bishop pulled far out beyond the left post.

Video: TBL@NYR: Grabner scores off of Skjei's feed

 

Save of the game

With six seconds left in the first period and Tampa Bay on the power play, the score 0-0, Raanta kicked out his left pad to stop forward Nikita Kucherov's one-timer from the left circle.

 

Highlight of the game

Hayes did the hard work to help Grabner get his hat-trick goal. He caught a long pass from McDonagh near the blue line and fought off Lightning center Tyler Johnson and defenseman Victor Hedman by spinning to his forehand once he got into the zone. He saw Grabner was with him and alone, so he passed him the puck. Grabner got it in the slot, made a move to his forehand and quickly flipped the puck past Bishop.

Video: TBL@NYR: Grabner lights the lamp for his third goal

 

Unsung moment of the game

The Rangers killed a clipping penalty on right wing Mats Zuccarello that carried over 35 seconds into the second period. Raanta made three saves, including the one on Kucherov, to keep the game at 0-0.

 

They said it

"Everybody in this league knows we're a good team when everybody is working together and we're on the same page, and tonight we definitely were not. It's definitely a learning game. We'll review, move on and get better." -- Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman

 

"A lot of our chances started from good defense, from smart decisions coming through the neutral zone, and us catching them when we got a chance. We talked about [their defense] being up in the rush all the time and giving us a transition game so we can transition on them. That's how we got a couple of the goals." -- Rangers forward J.T. Miller

Video: TBL@NYR: Miller jams rebound into the net to pad lead

 

Need to know

Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan played 13:09 in his season debut. He missed the first eight games because he was recovering from offseason hip surgery. … Kucherov returned to Tampa Bay's lineup after sitting out a 3-1 loss at the New Jersey Devils on Saturday with an upper-body injury. He played 18:45 and had an assist.

 

Video: TBL@NYR: Stamkos finishes off power-play goal

 

What's next

Lightning: At the New York Islanders on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Rangers: Home against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Grabner's hat trick leads Rangers to 6-1 victory

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