Perhaps there is no better time for the Tampa Bay Lightning to be returning home.
Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and goaltender Anders Lindback stopped 11 of 13 shots in relief, but as the Lightning lost their fourth consecutive game on Sunday night following a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Tampa Bay dropped to 1-4-0 on the road this season, but luckily is returning home this week to kick off a pair of games beginning Tuesday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where it has won all but one of its six games on the year.
The Rangers, meanwhile, won their second straight and earned a victory for the third time in the team’s past four games.
Carl Hagelin scored twice and had three points for New York, and captain Ryan Callahan notched what would stand up as the game-winner at 15:13 of the first.
Forwards Arron Asham and Rick Nash each scored third-period goals for the Rangers, while Dan Girardi added two assists.
Hagelin made it 1-0 just 31 seconds in after skating around the right circle and wristing one from the high slot that appeared to deflect off Martin St. Louis’ stick and past Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon to open the scoring.
Garon allowed three goals on 19 shots and was pulled in favor of Lindback after Hagelin’s second of the night made it 3-0 at 9:58 of the second.
While turnovers by the Lightning proved costly in the defeat, Tampa Bay did have its fair share of chances early on, resulting in a lot of good scoring looks.
The only trouble though, was that New York netminder Henrik Lundqvist faced up to the challenge.
First, he denied Lecavalier on a breakaway when the Lightning captain lost control of the puck off the blade of his stick. He then turned back a chance from Steven Stamkos from in close, and again foiled another solid scoring opportunity from Cory Conacher after the Bolts rookie attempted to finish off a 2-on-1 odd-man rush with Lecavalier.
Just past the midway point of the first, the Bolts continued to attack, but Lundqvist kept the Lightning scoreless by turning back Stamkos a second time, as he one-timed a feed from Nate Thompson directly into the chest of the New York goaltender.
“We created a lot of odd-man rushes and got our looks, but unfortunately we didn’t capitalize on them,” Lightning assistant coach Martin Raymond said.
Lecavalier cut the deficit to two when he finished off a wild sequence near the net and put in a rebound past Lundqvist that made it 3-1.
With Ryan Malone out of the lineup with a lower body injury, rookie Alex Killorn was inserted into action instead.
Playing in his NHL debut, Killorn recorded an assist on Lecavalier’s goal that gave him his first career NHL point.
“I think I got the jitters out of the way in the first period,” Killorn said. “I felt a lot better in the second.”
Lundqvist, who entered the game with a record of just 1-2-4 in his past seven starts against Tampa Bay, reversed the trend Sunday night, making 19 saves.
Asham scored at 12:22 of the third that brought the score to 4-1.
Nash’s third of the season then capped the scoring with eight seconds remaining in regulation.