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Four-Goal Second Lifts Rangers Over Lightning

Raanta Picks Up Second Win Of the Season

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Michael Grabner tallied the first hat trick for the Rangers this season in a 6-1 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madion Square Garden on Sunday night.

 

Grabner scored once in the second and twice in the third - both on breakaways - to lead New York to its sixth win of the season.

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

Rick Nash, Jimmy Vesey and J.T. Miller had a goal each. Kevin Hayes had three assists while Miller also chipped in with two helpers of his own.

Antti Raanta made 31 saves to improve to 2-0 this season.

"It's nice to get another one," Grabner said with a smile after picking up his February 2011 when he was a member of the New York Islanders. 

The offense started when Nash converted on a breakaway for his fourth goal of the season at 4:45 of the middle period.

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

Just under two minutes later it was Grabner finishing a picture perfect passing sequence that saw Kevin Hayes fed Brady Skjei with a pass at the circle, who fed Grabner cross ice who fired the puck into the open cage to make it 2-0.

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

Before the goal could even be announced, it was Vesey firing a wrist shot through Ben Bishop from the faceoff dot to extend the lead to 3-0.

Miller capped the offensive output with 1:50 left in the middle frame when he buried Hayes' rebound between Bishop's legs to cap the period at 4-0.

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

Grabner get his second of the night on a breakaway goal at 9:02 of the third period to make it 5-0. Ryan McDonagh picked up an assist to extend his career-best assist streak to seven games.

Grabner would complete the hat trick when he finished a feed from Hayes by going backhand, forehand against Bishop.

"They're great players," Grabner said of his linemates. "They have a lot of skill so I just tried to open up some room for them, use my speed, and it worked tonight. We had a lot of chances as a line, and could maybe have had a couple more."

In total, the Hayes, Grabner and Miller combined for nine points on the night.

"It's good to see a couple chances go in," Miller said. "Me and Hayes have been playing together for pretty much all the games. We've had some looks but haven't quite gotten any, so it's good to see some success. We spent some good time in their end and obviously Grabs was making some plays. That's going to help."

Raanta, making just his second start of the season, said he was pleased with the offensive effort the team put forth in front of him.

"It was nice to get going," Raanta said. "I have been working the past couple weeks and waiting for this moment, so when you get the call and get the chance to play you try to do the things you have been doing in practice. I think everything went really well and you always need a little luck. The guys were lighting it up today. It was nice to see the boys scoring."

The Rangers continue this three-game homestand Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues.

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