NEW YORK – Chris Gratton recorded two goals and one assist and Martin St. Louis scored his 200th career goal on Tuesday night, lifting the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 victory against the New York Rangers.
Netting his 19th goal of the season, Vaclav Prospal scored the game winner to help their Lightning end their four-game road trip on a high note. Karri Ramo made 31 saves in the contest en route to the victory.
Although the Rangers took an early lead on Jaromir Jagr’s 12th goal of the season, the Lightning pressured goaltender Henrik Lundqvist early in the first.
Lightning center Chris Gratton (77) scores on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the first period on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Looking to connect on an early power play Brad Richards fired a shot from the middle of the blue line. As the shot sailed over the net, Prospal banged at the rebound to the right of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist but the attempt was blocked.
Responding less than three minutes after Jagr’s goal, Doug Janik scored to tie the game at one. Janik’s slap shot from the right point tipped into the net off Fedor Tyutin’s stick, giving the Lightning defender his first goal of the season.
Within minutes Gratton posted his first goal of the night to give Tampa Bay a lead they would not relinquish.
After Gratton fought the puck out of the left corner he passed back to Jan Hlavac at the left side boards. Hlavac backhanded a pass to Jason Ward at the right hash marks where Ward moved the puck down to the Gratton. Positioned to the right of Lundqvist, Gratton re-directed the pass into the open side of the net for the score.
As the Rangers looked to tie the game up, Ramo held off a pair of shots by Jagr and Scott Gomez. Ramp blocked the initial shot as Jagr skated down the right wing before cutting to the crease, then covered Gomez’s shot at the rebound.
Early in the second Lundqvist denied Richards on a breakaway before Gratton found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season.
After winning a faceoff back to Shane O’Brien, Gratton skated towards the net. Gratton deflected the puck into the top corner of the net after O’Brien flicked a shot from the blue line.
The goal gave Gratton his first three-point night of the season. Gratton leads all Lightning skaters with 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) through 52 career games against the Rangers.
Following a Lundqvist save on a snapped shot by Kyle Wanvig, the Rangers returned to their offensive zone for a pair of strong chances on Ramo. After covering a tipped shot by Marc Staal off a pass in front by Gomez, Ramo made a glove save on a Chris Drury shot from the top of the slot.
Prospal answered moments later to give the Lightning a 4-1 lead on his 19th goal of the season. Accepting a pass through the zone by St. Louis, Prospal fired a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot over Lundqvist’s glove.
With his goal in the contest, Prospal extended his current point-streak to seven games. The Tampa Bay winger has recorded four goals and 11 points during the stretch.
Converting a power play with 1:36 remaining in the second period, Gomez scored on a tip-in from the goal mouth. Re-directing the puck off a pass through traffic by Michal Rozsival, Gomer tipped the puck under Ramo’s glove side as he slid across the crease.
The goal was Gomez’s 10th of the season, giving the Rangers center his team-leading 40th point.
Gomez attempted to post his second goal of the night minutes later with a snapped shot from the left boards, but Ramo made a glove save on the play. Rozsival converted a second Rangers power play to bring his club within one, but it wouldn’t be enough for the comeback.
After denying a Paul Mara slap shot through traffic, Ramo blanked Gomez on a rebound attempt. Ramo went on to make a number of strong saves as the Lightning killed off a late Rangers’ 5-on-3. In addition to holding off Drury on a rebound and a pair of shots by Brendan Shanahan, Ramo made a glove save on a Jagr slap shot as the first penalty expired.
The Lightning's Doug Janik (3) celebrates with Jan Hlavac (17) after Janik scored during the first period against the New York Rangers on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Shanahan later threw a puck into the goalmouth on a Rangers’ power play, but Ramo closed the pads on Drury for the save.
With the time winding down New York skated with the empty net, but St. Louis blocked a shot by Rozsival to send the play in the opposite direction. As Vincent Lecavalier skated down the right wing, he pass across to St. Louis for the open shot.
St. Louis’ goal, the 200th of his career, came in his 500th career appearance with Tampa Bay.
Recording one goal and one assist in the contest, St. Louis extended his current point-streak to five games. The Lightning winger has recorded nine points (four goals, five assists) in that span.
Lecavalier also extended his point-streak to five games. Posting an assist, Lecavalier has recorded three goals and eight points during the stretch.
Earning his second career victory, Ramo made 31 saves as the Rangers out-shot the Lightning 34-26. New York scored twice through five power play, while Tampa Bay went scoreless through two man-advantage opportunities.
The Lightning return to the St. Pete Times Forum on Thursday, January 10 (7:30p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) to face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Stopping in Tampa Bay for one game, the Lightning make their first home appearance of the calendar year.
1 - 0 NYR
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 TBL
3 - 1 TBL
Martin St. Louis
4 - 1 TBL
4 - 2 TBL
4 - 3 TBL
Martin St. Louis
5 - 3 TBL
Martin St. Louis
Martin St. Louis
Misconduct (10 min)
Hi stick - double minor