|NYR||0||2||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|TBL||1||2||2||(0 - 0)||5|
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ If there's one word Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella can use to describe his team it's consistent.
``You can't even put on one hand how many games we haven't been ready to play,'' Tortorella said Friday night after the Southeast Division champions set a franchise record for points in a season by extending their unbeaten streak to 11 games with a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers.
``Now's not the time to bring it in and be counting them on two hands. This is a time where we really need to stay on top of things. We're spending our days with our tape, going over the minute things.''
NHL points leader Martin St. Louis scored two goals and assisted on a third for the Lightning, who increased their lead in the race for the Presidents' Trophy to three points over Western Conference leader Detroit.
Vincent Lecavalier had two goals and two assists, while the victory gave the Lightning 95 points _ two more they amassed last season when they won their first division title and made their first playoff appearance in seven years.
``They have lots of confidence right now,'' New York's Karel Rachunek said. ``They move the puck perfectly and shoot from everywhere.''
St. Louis' goals were his 33rd and 34th of the season, setting a career high for the All-Star winger. With 50 assists, he has 84 points.
Tampa Bay improved to 26-3-2-4 since Jan. 3 and its 18-game points streak (14-0-2-2) is the longest in the NHL this season. The Lightning have won a league-best seven straight at home and haven't lost anywhere in regulation since Feb. 2.
``This is a good hockey club, the No. 1 team in the National Hockey League, and not by accident,'' Rangers coach Tom Renney said. ``As much as you want to respect your opponent, we probably respect them to the point where we stood still and let them control the hockey game.''
Lecavalier set up Cory Stillman's power-play goal in the opening period. He got his second assist on St. Louis' first goal, then took advantage of a lucky bounce to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead.
The Lightning center scored when Mark Messier's clearing pass glanced off St. Louis' skate and bounded back toward the New York goal to Lecavalier, who beat goalie Mike Dunham from the right circle.
The Rangers trimmed their deficit to 3-2 with goals by Tom Poti and Jan Hlavac within a two-minute span of the second period. It stayed that way until St. Louis and Lecavalier answered with their second goals of the night in the first seven minutes of the final period.
``Marty scored and then I scored right after that,'' Lecavalier said. ``It's not a secret. We weren't winning the battles (in the second period). We weren't sharp. But we talked about it in the locker room and came out and played hard in the third and won the game.''
|PPG - Cory Stillman Wrist shot - ASST: Vincent Lecavalier , Dan Boyle|
1 - 0 TBL
|Martin St Louis Wrist shot - ASST: Ruslan Fedotenko , Vincent Lecavalier|
2 - 0 TBL
|Vincent Lecavalier Wrist shot - ASST: Martin St Louis|
3 - 0 TBL
|PPG - Tom Poti Wrist shot - ASST: Fedor Tyutin , Mark Messier|
3 - 1 TBL
|Jan Hlavac Wrist shot - ASST: Jaromir Jagr|
3 - 2 TBL
|PPG - Martin St Louis Wrist shot - ASST: Brad Richards , Pavel Kubina|
4 - 2 TBL
|Vincent Lecavalier Wrist shot - ASST: Ruslan Fedotenko|
5 - 2 TBL
|Pavel Kubina Hi-sticking|
|Karel Rachunek Holding|
|Dale Purinton Hi-sticking|
|Jassen Cullimore Boarding|
|Dale Purinton Hooking - Obstruction|
|Jan Hlavac Hi-sticking|
|Dan Boyle Holding|
|SA: 37||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 32||EV: 22 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 8 - 10|
|SV%: .865||SH: 2 - 2|
|SA: 28||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 26||EV: 25 - 26|
|PIM: 0||PP: 0 - 1|
|SV%: .929||SH: 1 - 1|