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Game Recap

Rangers 5, Lightning 0

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM
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Rangers 5, Lightning 0
New York Rangers 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 0

The New York Rangers' playoff hopes are alive and well, thanks to a little help from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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The Rangers moved within two points of the last playoff berth in the Eastern Conference by riding a fast start to a 5-0 victory over the Lightning on Friday night.

New York scored four times before the game was 15 minutes old, taking advantage of some sloppy play by Tampa Bay in its own zone, a couple of fortunate bounces and a bad night by goaltender Mike Smith -- who was coming off a 2-0 shutout at Pittsburgh two nights earlier. Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves but was rarely tested on the way to his fourth shutout of the season.

The Rangers, now 4-0-1 in their last five games, have 80 points, tying them for ninth place with Atlanta and leaving them just two behind Boston and Philadelphia, who are tied for the last two playoff spots after the Flyers lost 1-0 at home to Montreal (84 points). With five games to play, the Rangers have a game in hand on Philadelphia, Montreal and Atlanta; they are even with Boston.

Tampa Bay's minuscule playoff hopes all but expired after the Lightning fell to 5-14-1 in their last 20 games.

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game's first 3:34, taking advantage of a shaky start by Smith.

Brandon Prust got the Rangers on the board at 3:09 when he came out from behind the net to the left, found no defenseman to bother him and whacked away at the puck until it slid under Smith for his third of the season. Defenseman Marc Staal doubled the lead 25 seconds later when Smith waved at and missed his bad-angled wrister from outside the left circle.

Tampa Bay has struggled in its own zone all season, and the Rangers took advantage again at 11:21 to make it 3-0. Vaclav Prospal picked up a loose puck after Vladimir Mihalik couldn't handle a dump-in, came out from behind the net and had his pass deflect into the net off Mihalik's skate. 

Smith had another puck go into the net off a Tampa Bay player as the Rangers made it 4-0 with a power-play goal at 14:55. Brandon Dubinsky hammered a slapper from the top of the right circle that Smith stopped with his pad -- only to see defenseman Kurtis Foster accidentally put the rebound into his own net while trying to clear the puck.

The biggest cheer from the home fans at the St. Pete Times Forum came when the last minute of play announcement was made. The Bolts were booed as they skated off at the end of the first period, having allowed four goals on only seven shots.

The Lightning changed goalies to start the second period, replacing Smith with Antero Niittymaki, then got a chance to get back into the game when Jody Shelley was called for holding at 4:13 and Dubinsky took a delay of game call 40 seconds later for clearing the puck into the crowd. But they spent most of the 5-on-3 advantage passing the puck around the perimeter and generated no real scoring chances.

Lundqvist was finally forced to make a big stop 12:30 into the second period when he robbedBrandon Bochenski, who was set up alone in front by Steven Stamkos, then stopped Mattias Ohlund's one-handed rebound try. Off the subsequent draw, he also denied Nate Thompson from right in front of the crease after a turnover.

Aaron Voros wrapped up the scoring when Niittymaki batted the rebound of his shot into the net 6:10 left in the third after the goaltender misplayed a dump-in behind the Lightning net. 
scoring summary
1st Period
Brandon Prust (3) ASST: Artem Anisimov (12)
1 - 0 NYR
Marc Staal (7) ASST: Marian Gaborik (41)
2 - 0 NYR
Vinny Prospal (19) ASST: NONE
3 - 0 NYR
PPG - Brandon Dubinsky (19) ASST: Dan Girardi (16), Anders Eriksson (4)
4 - 0 NYR
2nd Period
3rd Period
Aaron Voros (2) ASST: Michael Del Zotto (27)
5 - 0 NYR
penalty summary
1st Period
Andrej Meszaros  Slashing against  Chris Drury
2nd Period
Jody Shelley  Holding against  Andrej Meszaros
Brandon Dubinsky  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
Alex Tanguay  Tripping against  Michal Rozsival
3rd Period
Marian Gaborik  Holding against  Martin St. Louis
Vladimir Mihalik  Roughing against  Corey Locke
Brandon Prust  Tripping against  Vincent Lecavalier
Todd Fedoruk  Misconduct (10 min)
goalie stats
Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 30TOI: 60:00
Saves: 30EV: 23 - 23
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 6
SV%: 1.000SH: 1 - 1
Antero Niittymaki
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 15TOI: 40:00
Saves: 14EV: 10 - 11
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .933SH: 1 - 1
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
SA: 7TOI: 20:00
Saves: 3EV: 2 - 5
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 2
SV%: .429SH: 0 - 0