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game recap

Brayden Point powers Lightning to win

Scores two goals against Rangers, breaks tie in third period

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Rookie center Brayden Point celebrated his 21st birthday with his first two-goal game in the NHL, and goalie Peter Budaj made 26 saves to help the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the New York Rangers 3-2 at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

The Lightning (33-26-9) have won three in a row and are 4-0-1 in their past five games. They are one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Toronto has a game in hand.

"Just exceptional effort on a night where I actually thought both teams were off," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Our goalie just happened to make one more save than their's, and then the little engine that could, Brayden Point, he came through big for us."

 

WATCH: All Lightning vs. Rangers highlights

 

Point, who has 11 goals, scored the winning goal on a redirect of Ondrej Palat's slap pass at 13:21 of the third period. He also scored a game-tying power-play goal in the first period.

Nikita Kucherov had assists on both of Point's goals, giving him 20 points in the past 10 games. Gabriel Dumont also scored for the Lightning. 

Steven Kampfer and Michael Grabner scored for the Rangers (44-24-2), who have lost five in a row at home, including the past four in regulation. They are 19-15-2 at home this season.

Antti Raanta, starting for the second straight night because Henrik Lundqvist is out with a hip injury, made 13 saves.

The Rangers outshot the Lightning 13-3 in the first period and could have had a multiple goal lead if not for some big saves from Budaj, who stopped Chris Kreider on a breakaway 43 seconds into the game and Rick Nash twice from the slot midway through the period.

Video: TBL@NYR: Point nets nice feed for PPG on his birthday

Kampfer scored on a one-timer at 5:53 for a 1-0 lead, but Point tied it 1-1 at 7:43.

"The pace we carried in the first period, [we] should have been able to do that, make the same plays in the second and third, which our guys didn't do," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "Obviously it wasn't good enough."

The Lightning took a 2-1 lead on Dumont's second goal of the season at 5:04 of the second period. Grabner tied it at 10:22 with his team-leading 27th goal of the season, but first since Feb. 9. 

The Rangers couldn't build on it. They had eight shots on goal in the third period and didn't generate sustained possession time until Vigneault pulled Raanta for the extra skater.

Video: TBL@NYR: Grabner cashes in on Garrison's miscue

 

Goal of the game

Dumont won the puck in the corner with a heavy forecheck and moved it up to Jason Garrison, who was a few feet above the left circle. Dumont went into the shooting lane to redirect Garrison's pass past Raanta.

Video: TBL@NYR: Dumont tips home Garrison's big drive

 

Save of the game

Budaj's save on Kreider's breakaway helped settle him down and prevent the Lightning from losing momentum early. He read Kreider's move to his backhand, slid and made the save with his left pad.

Video: TBL@NYR: Budaj turns aside Kreider's breakaway

 

Highlight of the game

Dumont got the puck from Kucherov at the far blue line, sped down the middle of the ice into the zone and passed to Palat. Point kept going, got behind the Rangers defense and stuck out his stick to redirect Palat's pass through Raanta's legs.

Video: TBL@NYR: Point finishes for second goal on birthday

 

Unsung performance of the game

Lightning forward J.T. Brown also contributed on the forecheck to help Dumont win the puck back, leading to his goal. The fourth line of Dumont, Brown and Greg McKegg played a strong game. Dumont also won three of four faceoffs, had two shots on goal, two hits and blocked a shot. 

 

They said it

"We played the right way in the first period. We advanced pucks, we got pucks in their end and we had good possession time and some good opportunities, which we didn't do in the second and the third. We barely had any looks, any possession time. Just getting pucks in deep but not forechecking the right way and not winning any board battles, so the puck is automatically out of their end and there's a good chance it's coming into yours. There's no doubt that our second and our third were not good enough tonight to get a win." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault

 

Need to know

Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov did not play the third period after reaggravating the lower-body injury that kept him out of the game against the Florida Panthers on Saturday. … Lightning centers Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette each missed their second straight game with lower-body injuries.

 

What's next

Lightning: At the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, TSN5, RDS2, NHL.TV)

Rangers: Host the Florida Panthers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-F, NHL Network, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Point strikes twice on birthday to down Rangers, 3-2

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