NEW YORK — A lost point here, another there. Over time, they add up, and not in a good way for a team desperate to stay in the playoff race.
The Lightning fell 4-3 in overtime to the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden and got a point for the regulation tie.
But Tampa Bay (23-24-6) also left a point on the table and could not gain on the Panthers and Capitals, nine points ahead atop the Southeast Division.
"Every point is crucial, either gained or lost," center Dominic Moore said. "But that depends on how you look at it."
One way is the Lightning is 6-1-2 in its past nine games. The other is that since winning five straight, it is 1-1-2 and lost crucial points with two overtime losses.
Against the Rangers, it also lost a third-period lead. Brian Boyle scored with 9:47 left to tie the score, and Brad Richards won it 2:37 into the extra period.
That overcame goals by Steven Stamkos, his league-best 36th, Vinny Lecavalier and Bruno Gervais, who gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead on the power play with 7:34 left in second.
"We wanted to make sure we got the point," Stamkos said. "But sometimes one point isn't good enough in the position we're in."
There was drama beyond the Rangers' comeback. New York was upset with Moore's third-period shoulder hit to the head of Ruslan Fedotenko, who left the game. And wing Brandon Prust believes Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman slew-footed him in the first. But Moore's hit was the touchstone.
"We're still angry about that," Boyle said. "It's a very dirty, dirty play. We've got to get away from that stuff."
Moore said he was "competing for body position" while "trying to make myself available for a shot. I guess (Fedotenko) wasn't ready for that."
Moore, called for roughing, said the hit was not in retaliation for Fedotenko running him into the boards earlier in the period: "I didn't know it was him until after." The league will look at Moore's hit for supplemental discipline.
The Lightning looks at the game as one that got away despite being outshot 31-17.
Boyle scored after Hedman disrupted a puck rimmed around the boards, only to see it deflect to Boyle in the slot for a shot that cleanly beat Mathieu Garon.
Richards' goal came after defenseman Brendan Mikkelson couldn't get a handle on a bouncing puck between him and the Rangers' Michael Del Zotto.
"We're fighting," coach Guy Boucher said. "Our players are finding ways to get points."
Just not enough.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 36 (Connolly, Wyman), 18:56. Penalties—Dubinsky, NYR (slashing), 3:50.
Second Period—2, N.Y. Rangers, Callahan 18 (Del Zotto, Stepan), 4:33 (pp). 3, N.Y. Rangers, Stepan 11 (Girardi, Gaborik), 5:27. 4, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 21 (Purcell, Gilroy), 5:48. 5, Tampa Bay, Gervais 4 (Stamkos, St. Louis), 12:26 (pp). Penalties—Shannon, TB (hooking), 4:22; Hedman, TB (roughing), 4:53; Prust, NYR (roughing), 4:53; Eminger, NYR (tripping), 11:40.
Third Period—6, N.Y. Rangers, Boyle 5 (Hagelin, Stralman), 10:13. Penalties—Moore, TB (roughing), 3:05; Mikkelson, TB (cross-checking), 7:31.
Overtime—7, N.Y. Rangers, Richards 17 (Anisimov, Del Zotto), 2:37. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 4-10-3-0—17. N.Y. Rangers 10-11-9-1—31. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 2; N.Y. Rangers 1 of 3. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Garon 16-13-4 (31 shots-27 saves). N.Y. Rangers, Biron 10-2-1 (17-14). A—18,200 (18,200).