TAMPA — When rookie goaltender Cedrick Desjardins was given his second straight start Saturday, he planned to seize the opportunity.
"Right now I've got the ball in my hand, and I just want to keep it and run with it," he said.
Boy, did he ever. Desjardins racked up 34 saves in the Lightning's 2-1 overtime win over the Rangers in front of 18,242 at the St. Pete Times Forum. Nate Thompson scored the winner 19 seconds into overtime after Marian Gaborik tied the score in the final minute of regulation.
That gave Desjardins wins in his first two NHL starts.
"Unbelievable," Thompson said of Desjardins. "I'm speechless."
As good as Desjardins has played, he is getting sent back to AHL Norfolk. The Lightning acquired veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson from the Islanders Saturday night in exchange for defensemen Ty Wishart.
Coach Guy Boucher said the Lighting will go with three goaltenders on the roster now, including injured Mike Smith and Dan Ellis, until it sorts out the situation.
Desjardins showed them a glimpse of what he could bring in the future. He was more impressive than he was in his win Thursday over the Canadiens, an organization he played in for four years without a callup.
"I was more in control," Desjardins said. "I know right now I can play in that league. I know I can play with that team, too. I enjoyed it."
Problem was, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was really good, too. The Lightning had numerous quality scoring chances, including a shorthanded breakaway by Adam Hall in the first period. But Tampa Bay struck first on a goal that didn't exactly go how Dana Tyrell drew it up.
About seven minutes into the game, Thompson jump-started the play in his zone by getting the puck to Tyrell down the right side. Tyrell came in on a two-on-one, tried to deke and lost control of the puck, but it slipped through Lundqvist for a 1-0 lead.
The Lightning nearly increased its lead in the second, but Lundqvist came up big, stopping a backhand shot by Ryan Malone from around the crease and a Brett Clark shot from in front during a power play.
Desjardins made a statement — "Two statements, actually," Boucher said. And he probably couldn't have written a better script for the start of his NHL career.
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Tyrell 4 (Thompson), 13:03. Penalties—Moore, TB (interference), 8:40.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Smaby, TB (hooking), 1:58; Weise, NYR (hooking), 5:38; Dubinsky, NYR (roughing), 16:26.
Third Period—2, N.Y. Rangers, Gaborik 11 (Girardi), 19:14. Penalties—Anisimov, NYR (holding), 1:14.
Overtime—3, Tampa Bay, Thompson 6 (Tyrell, Lundin), :19. Penalties—None.
Shots on Goal—N.Y. Rangers 7-13-15-0—35. Tampa Bay 10-15-7-1—33. Power-play opportunities—N.Y. Rangers 0 of 2; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. Goalies—N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 16-12-3 (33 shots-31 saves). Tampa Bay, Desjardins 2-0-0 (35-34). A—18,242 (19,758). T—2:34. Referees—Mike Leggo, Rob Martell. Linesmen—Brad Lazarowich, Tim Nowak.