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Rangers Downed by Lightning at The Garden

Rangers outshoot Tampa 28-16, but lose 3-2

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers were unable to carry over Sunday's momentum into Monday's matchup with the Lightning, as the Blueshirts fell to Tampa Bay 3-2 at Madison Square Garden.

Brayden Point scored twice, including the game-winner with 6:39 remaining in the game to top the Rangers, who were finishing a back-to-back set.

New York is now 9-3-0 this season in the second half of back-to-back games.

Video: TBL@NYR: Kampfer pots one-timer off the faceoff

Steven Kampfer opened the scoring with his first goal of the season - and first as a Ranger - 5:53 into the game. After an offensive zone faceoff win, Mats Zuccarello teed up a pass for Kampfer, who stepped into a slap shot that beat Peter Budaj.

While Tampa Bay tied the game on a power play goal from Brayden Point less than two minutes after Kampfer's marker, the Rangers turned in a dominating performance in the first period, outshooting the Lightning 13-3. 

"We played the right way in the first period," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We advanced pucks and 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."

Tampa would take the lead on a goal by Gabriel Dumont on a deflection off a Jason Garrison shot from the point that beat Antti Raanta at 5:04 of the middle frame. 

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

New York would tie the game midway through the period when Michael Grabner capitalized on a Garrison turnover in his own zone. Grabner scooped up the loose puck in the slot between the circles and beat Budaj for his team-leading 27th of the season.

But Point's goal in the third would snap the 2-2 tie. Point broke in on a three-on-two and redirected an Ondrej Palat pass that beat Raanta through the legs for the winner.

"In the third period, I don't know what happened there," Raanta said. "They got a two-on-three opportunity and the guy was just throwing the puck to the net and the guy had an open stick there. He just redirected that."

Raanta faced just 16 shots, and Tampa had just another 24 either attempted or blocked.

"They didn't shoot at all," Raanta said. "Kind of a weird game. Kind of a tough game for a goalie to play. Sometimes games are like this. Sometimes you get 50 shots and sometimes you get 20. I still feel we played good enough in the first period, so if we could have kept going like that, we could have won this game."

Tonight's game finished a stretch of five games in eight days for the Rangers, including four on the road in Florida, Carolina and Detroit. Derek Stepan said while the team did not play as well as it had 24 hours earlier against the Red Wings, he and his teammates won't use that as a crutch.

"We talk about it all year that a lot of teams are playing a lot of hockey and it's tough to really point the finger at that," Stepan said. "It's never okay to lose."

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