Friday, January 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning falls to Rangers in OT (w/ video)

TAMPA — The Lightning had no business winning Thursday’s game against the Rangers.

Sure, it got a potential go-ahead goal waved off early in the third period due to a questionable goalie interference call. But that Tampa Bay squeezed a point out of a 2-1 overtime loss is thanks to another Herculean effort by goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

This one could have been ugly early had Vasilevskiy not bailed out the Lightning early with saves on several odd-man rushes. The last time Tampa Bay gave up that many chances in a game was in a 5-4 loss to the Panthers in Game No. 2, which it dubbed a wakeup call.

"The Rangers deserved to win that game," coach Jon Cooper said. "We played loose. We let them skate by us on a lot of occasions. We just can’t think it’s going to be a track meet every night and we’re going to skill all these out.

RELATED: Waved-off goal costly against the Rangers.

"If you take the goaltender interference out of it, that would have given us two (goals). (The Rangers) should have had six. It was like, ‘Don’t worry, ‘Vasy’ will get it.’ You can’t play like that."

The Lightning, off to a tremendous 10-3-1 start, isn’t going to be perfect every night. There will be games like this. But Tampa Bay didn’t match the desperation of the struggling Rangers (5-7-2), who drug the Lightning into another tight-checking game.

"They were desperate, and they played like it," Cooper said. "We didn’t play desperate. We played like it was Game 82 and we had already accomplished something. We haven’t accomplished anything."

Vasilevskiy fell one short of a franchise mark of wins in 10 consecutive decisions. But he played well enough to win. He was at his best early, making 33 saves overall. Tampa Bay got lucky when Michael Grabner hit the post five minutes in. Vasilevskiy made a great stop on J.T. Miller on a 2-on-1. Then he gloved a breakaway chance by Kevin Shattenkirk, who had just come out of the box.

It took a 3-on-1 for the Rangers to finally convert, Chris Kreider sneaking a shot through late in the first period.

"(Vasilevskiy) was amazing," forward Yanni Gourde said. "He’s been our best player since the start of the season. He’s been our MVP."

RELATED: Joe Smith’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Rangers game.

This game had a nasty feel to it. There were a few fights, Ryan Callahan and J.T. Brown each getting in a bout with Rangers defenseman Steven Kampfer. Victor Hedman got into a post-whistle scrum with Mats Zuccarello.

The Lightning tied it midway through the second on a shorthanded goal by Gourde. On a delayed penalty call on the Rangers, Brayden Point sparked a 2-on-1 with a great effort in the neutral zone, drawing a penalty. Hedman and Gourde had a give-and-go, with Gourde finishing for his third goal of the season.

Tampa Bay thought it took the lead early in the third when Alex Killorn’s point shot trickled through traffic. But the goal was quickly waved off due to goaltender interference against Gabriel Dumont, who appeared to be pushed into Henrik Lundqvist by Kampfer. The Lightning challenged to no avail, and the Amalie Arena sellout crowd of 19,092 let the referees hear it.

LIGHTNING STRIKES: In the latest podcast, Joe Smith and columnist Tom Jones discuss whether Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov form the best duo in Lightning history.

"That was a bad call," Cooper said. "The only person in the building that thought it wasn’t a goal is the ref. He missed it."

On the overtime winner, Miller whipped around Gourde and then Point in front of the net, putting the puck top shelf. Gourde said there was a miscommunication.

Said Point: "(Miller) beat both of us."

For the Lightning, it was that kind of night.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Rangers10012
Lightning01001

First Period—1, N.Y. Rangers, Kreider 4 (Skjei, Zibanejad), 18:34. Penalties—Shattenkirk, NYR, (holding), 12:49; Zuccarello, NYR, (slashing), 17:32; Hedman, TB, (roughing), 17:32.

Second Period—2, Tampa Bay, Gourde 3 (Hedman, Point), 11:00 (sh). Penalties—Kampfer, NYR, Major (fighting), 9:38; Callahan, TB, Major (fighting), 9:38; Namestnikov, TB, (cross checking), 10:01.

Third Period—None. Penalties—Brown, TB, Major (fighting), 3:01; Kampfer, NYR, Major (fighting), 3:01; Killorn, TB, (slashing), 3:01; McDonagh, NYR, (roughing), 5:04.

Overtime—3, N.Y. Rangers, Miller 3 (Shattenkirk), 1:19. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—N.Y. Rangers 13-12-9-1—35. Tampa Bay 8-16-4—28. Power-play opportunities—N.Y. Rangers 0 of 2; Tampa Bay 0 of 2. Goalies—N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 3-4-2 (28 shots-27 saves). Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 10-1-0 (35-33). A—19,092 (19,092). T—2:45. Referees—Tom Chmielewski, Brian Pochmara. Linesmen—Tim Nowak, Pierre Racicot.

     
                                           
Comments
Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

TAMPA — Vegas has left the building.Wasn't the Lightning just arranging place settings for next weekend's NHL All-Star Game party?With that in mind, I headed to the home dressing room at Amalie Arena late Thursday after the Lightning was manhan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

SUNRISE — Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds into overtime to lift the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Golden Knights on Friday, spoiling Vegas coach Gerard Gallant’s return to Florida. By gaining a point, Vegas moved within one point of the Lightning...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Steven Stamkos sat at his stall in a near-empty Lightning dressing room Thursday and did what captains often do:He shouldered some blame for the Lightning's listless 4-1 loss to Vegas."As a leader, I've got to be a lot better,...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Why I hate the NHL All-Star Game

Why I hate the NHL All-Star Game

TAMPA — The NHL All-Star Game is coming to town next weekend, reaffirming our community's ability to step into the breach when needed. We don't stop until we get the Winter Olympics. So, don't be surprised if those next Rays stadium plans ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

There was plenty of blame to go around after the Lightning's 4-1 loss to the Golden Knights Thursday night.This loss wasn't on one person, no question.But captain Steven Stamkos showed some leadership by shouldering some responsibility for the team's...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising. After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had team...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

TAMPA — The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether those players are currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.For now, C Cory Conacher will try to t...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Golden Knights game

Thought the bye week was a much-needed break for Andrei Vasilevskiy. And though you can’t pin Thursday’s loss on the goalie, he still gave up at least four goals for the fourth straight start (19 overall). Tampa Bay is used to Vasilevskiy’s brillianc...
Published: 01/18/18
Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Life is good for Jonathan Marchessault.The former Lightning forward is thriving for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, which recently signed the undrafted forward to a six-year, $30 million deal. Marchessault's wife is expecting their third child, a...
Published: 01/18/18
Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether that player is currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.Center Cory Conacher, a healthy scratch in the Li...
Published: 01/18/18