NEW YORK - Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis scored 2:18 apart in the third period to rally the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 pre-season victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
In a matchup of teams that will open the regular season against each other next weekend in Prague, Czech Republic, the Lightning pulled off the late comeback despite being outshot 47-25. Karri Ramo played the entire game and was sharp in making 45 saves.
New York had 18 shots in each of the first two periods but produced only a pair of goals from Dan Fritsche and Lauri Korpikoski. Backup goalie Steve Valiquette also was in the nets for the whole game, giving Henrik Lundqvist the night off.
The Rangers played for the fourth straight night and lost their third consecutive - including a defeat at Tampa Bay that started the skid on Tuesday. New York has been going with a bit of a split squad since it began a pre-season schedule of six games in eight days before heading to Europe.
The Rangers will finish the North American part of exhibition games Saturday at home against New Jersey before flying to Switzerland to take part in the Victoria Cup. The Lightning will also play a pair of exhibition games in Europe before taking on the Rangers for real.
Fritsche, who came to the Rangers in a big summer deal with Columbus, gave New York a 1-0 lead 8:58 into the first period with a snap shot from the dot in the middle of the right circle. Chris Gratton tied it at 11:37.
Korpikoski netted his second goal of the pre-season at 7:56 of the middle period, slipping a shot past Ramo.
Then came the late Lightning strikes in the third.
Rookie Steven Stamkos, the top overall pick in this year's NHL draft, rushed down the middle of the Rangers zone before being stopped by Valiquette. The rebound came right out in front to Malone for the goal at 2:18.
Tampa Bay took its only lead of the game soon after when Matt Carle fired the puck down the ice, where St. Louis tracked it down in the New York end. He outskated defenceman Dmitri Kalinin and let go a backhander that beat Valiquette over the left shoulder, popping up the water bottle on top of the net.
Evgeny Artyukhin added an empty-net goal in the closing seconds, with an assist from Stamkos, to make it 4-2.