Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning loses to Rangers but clinches playoff spot (w/video)

NEW YORK — The Lightning finally clinched a playoff spot Tuesday night.

But this certainly wasn't the way Tampa Bay drew it up, having to back its way in.

For the second consecutive night, the Lightning needed just one point to seal a postseason berth. But after blowing a two-goal lead in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Tampa Bay players found out they clinched postgame thanks to the Bruins' shootout loss at home against Carolina.

Tampa Bay, despite a 41-28 shot advantage, lost its fourth in six games with two to go and needs two points to wrap up home ice for a first-round series beginning a week from today.

"Obviously a nice surprise after a game like that," Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison said of clinching. "We wanted to put it in control more."

The Lightning (45-30-5) had control of this one, even after finding out right before the game that defenseman Victor Hedman (upper body) and Ryan Callahan (lower body) wouldn't play, joining Steven Stamkos (vascular surgery) and Anton Stralman (fractured left leg) on the injured list. A depleted Tampa Bay came out firing, racking up 17 of the first 19 shots, taking a 2-0 first-period lead.

But the Rangers rallied for three consecutive goals, Chris Kreider scoring the winner early in the third, as Tampa Bay had just eight shots over a 28-minute span midway through the game.

"We sat back but they came out even harder," Lightning center Tyler Johnson said. "It's playing against a good team, we can't sit back, got to keep going. And the third period was much better for us, but it was too little too late at that point. We've got to play a full 60 (minutes) the way we know we can."

The Lightning ended up outshooting New York 40-28, with former Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Henrik Lundqvist a difference-maker. Tampa Bay, 1-for-6 on the power play, squandered a five-minute man advantage late in the first. Then Lundqvist made two spectacular, sprawling saves on Johnson and Ondrej Palat, preventing this from being a three-goal game.

"I think we took it to them in every statistic possible except for the scoreboard," coach Jon Cooper said. "It's unfortunate. Guys gamed it out."

Tampa Bay just couldn't finish it out. Derek Stepan scored the first two Rangers goals, beating backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy high glove-side on both. Then, on a partial breakaway, Chris Kreider tallied the winner five minutes into the third.

Cooper wasn't sure if Hedman or Callahan would return by the end of the regular season, which includes games Thursday against the Devils and Saturday at Montreal. Then comes a first-round series, likely a rematch with the Red Wings.

"I know it's a sour note because we lost the game," Cooper said. "But ultimately we can sit back and say our season is not ending Saturday. And we're really excited about that."

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

 

Rangers 0 1 2 3
Lightning 2 0 0 2

 

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Sustr 4 (Namestnikov, Marchessault), 2:42. 2, Tampa Bay, B.Boyle 13 (Palat, Johnson), 6:07 (pp). PenaltiesMcIlrath, NYR (hooking), 4:38; Lundqvist, NYR, served by Glass (delay of game), 9:25; Condra, TB (hooking), 12:47; Glass, NYR, served by Miller, major-game misconduct (interference -), 15:57.

Second Period3, N.Y. Rangers, Stepan 21 (Zuccarello, Yandle), 16:55 (pp). PenaltiesBrassard, NYR (delay of game), 5:42; Paquette, TB (roughing), 9:46; Yandle, NYR, served by Kreider, double minor (roughing), 9:46; Palat, TB (delay of game), 12:43; Kucherov, TB (interference), 16:47; Kreider, NYR (hooking), 19:46.

Third Period4, N.Y. Rangers, Stepan 22 (Zuccarello, Klein), 2:33. 5, N.Y. Rangers, Kreider 21 (M.Staal, Stepan), 4:46. PenaltiesNesterov, TB (tripping), :30; J.Brown, TB (tripping), 8:23; B.Boyle, TB, major-game misconduct (boarding), 18:52. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 21-8-12—41. N.Y. Rangers 6-13-9—28. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 1 of 6; N.Y. Rangers 1 of 6. GoaliesTampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 11-9-0 (28 shots-25 saves). N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 35-20-7 (41-39). A18,006 (18,006). T2:30. Referees—Justin St. Pierre, Kelly Sutherland. LinesmenDerek Amell, Scott Driscoll.

Lightning loses to Rangers but clinches playoff spot (w/video) 04/05/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2016 7:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.
  5. Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. Friday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Twins

    8:10, Target Field, Minnesota

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (3-3, 3.76)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)