Dominic Moore made up for an earlier mistake in a big way.
Moore, whose errant shot during the team's morning skate inadvertently struck teammate Martin St. Louis near the eye resulting in fractures that have him sidelined indefinitely, beat Henrik Lundqvist in the second round of the shootout to help the Tampa Bay Lightning earn a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. Moore skated out wide before coming back in close and wristing a forehand from the right circle past the glove of Lundqvist for the tiebreaker's only goal.
Mathieu Garon stopped all three of New York's attempts in the shootout.
He finished the night with 28 saves for Tampa Bay, which saw its season-high five-game losing skid come to an end.
"There had been a lot of adversity thrown at us in the last little while, and I thought as a team we responded," Moore said. "As a team we came together and played well in a lot of situations. It's one of those games that hopefully we can build some confidence around."
St. Louis was scheduled to skate in his 500th consecutive game for the Lightning, which was good for the NHL's third-longest active consecutive games played streak. He took a backhand from Moore in the face just hours before Thursday's puck drop, and rather than achieve the lauded milestone as anticipated, watched the game from NYU's Medical Center nearby.
"You feel terrible when you hit someone like that," Moore added. "It's just awful, and I just hope he's ok and I look forward to giving him a call."
Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov each had goals for the Rangers, who lost for the second straight time after having their five-game win streak snapped Saturday against Toronto.
Tampa Bay didn't make it easy on itself to start the game.
The Lightning took three separate penalties within the game's first 10 minutes, providing New York with sufficient opportunities to put the game's first goal on the board with the man advantage.
"We're on the road and it's very important to stay out of the box," Lightning assistant coach Dan Lacroix said. "We knew we would have to play them five-on-five."
With Steve Downie off for two minutes after incurring a tripping penalty, Callahan snuck a wrist shot past Garon to open the scoring at 7:49.
Ryan Malone then tied it at one after intercepting Ryan McDonagh's pass at the blue line.
As the Rangers defenseman attempted to maneuver the puck along the boards, he backhanded a pass that ended up right on Malone’s stick. The Lightning forward then skated in all alone through the slot and beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot to the glove side to draw Tampa Bay even at 11:23.
Anisimov broke a 1-1 tie while shorthanded at 13:23 to put New York back up by one, then taunted Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier with an exuberant goal celebration, which prompted a scrum that earned both clubs a combined total of 36 penalty minutes.
After the Rangers forward tapped home a backdoor pass from Michael Del Zotto, he dropped down to one knee and made a shooting motion with his stick, aimed at the Lightning net. Lecavalier took exception, as did Downie, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Steven Stamkos, who went after Anisimov to ignite the fracas.
"I actually didn't see what happened," Malone said. "I just saw Vinny lose it a little bit. But he's our captain and he's a leader, so it was great to see that. I think it got the guys fired up a little bit."
It certainly did.
With the Rangers clinging to a one-goal lead with just two minutes to go, Moore took a pass from Victor Hedman near center ice, and with a defender on his back, skated in wide to the left of Lundqvist before roofing a backhand to tie the game at two with 1:57 left in regulation. Garon made the rally stand up, making two huge saves in the extra frame to keep the game tied and send the contest into a shootout. He stopped Brad Richards from the low slot in the overtime's final seconds, providing the Lightning with the chance to pick up the extra point. The Lightning, 12-14-2, won for just the fourth time in 13 games. New York was again denied from becoming the fifth NHL team to record 2,500 franchise wins.
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