Rangers stop the Lightning again

November 6, 2008 7:03:12 PM PST
Chris Drury had two of New York's three rare power-play goals and finished his hat trick with a short-handed tally for the Rangers, who beat the Tampa Bay Lightning for the third time this season, 5-2 Thursday night. Ryan Callahan also had a power-play goal for the Rangers, who entered with the NHL's second-worst unit. Marc Staal pushed the lead to 4-2 in the third period, 29 seconds after Ryan Malone got the Lightning within one for the second time during a power play.

Drury scored his fifth of the season with 27.5 seconds left.

Martin St. Louis had the other goal for the Lightning, who lost for the second straight night after a three-game winning streak.

They are 4-2-4 since a pair of 2-1 losses to the Rangers during the season-opening series in the Czech Republic.

Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves for the Rangers, who snapped their first two-game skid of the season. Mike Smith stopped 30 shots for Tampa Bay.

The Rangers' much-maligned power play had failed on all six chances in the two previous contests. In New York's 2-1 loss to the Islanders on Tuesday, the Rangers allowed both goals while on their power play and have given up an NHL-high five short-handed goals.

Nearly 90 seconds into their first chance, Nikolai Zherdev raced down right wing and fed a perfect pass into the slot to Callahan, who received it while crouching and fired a one-timer past Smith to make it 1-0 with 3:51 left in the first.

The Lightning didn't get a power-play opportunity until Zherdev was caught cross-checking 42-year-old agitator Gary Roberts in front of the Lightning bench 13:13 into the second. Before the retaliation, Zherdev had been roughed up by Roberts, Chris Gratton and Adam Hall.

But Drury pushed the Rangers' lead to 2-0 with New York's first short-handed goal of the season. He picked off a pass from Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger in the neutral zone and took off on a breakaway.

Smith dropped to his side in front of the oncharging Drury, who deftly moved to his right to get around the fallen goalie, and scored into an empty net with 5:37 left in the second.

St. Louis got the Lightning to 2-1 with 1:24 remaining, scoring his second goal in two nights. He had a goal against the Rangers in the opening game of the season and didn't net another until the Lightning's 4-3 shootout loss at New Jersey on Wednesday.

Drury restored the Rangers' two-goal lead 35 seconds into the third with his power-play tally.

Malone made it 3-2 at 7:58, but Staal responded at 8:27.

Notes: The Lightning activated RW Radim Vrbata from the injured list after he missed five games due to a groin injury. ... The teams will meet once more, Nov. 26 at Tampa Bay. ... The Rangers were outshot 15-9 in the second period after holding a 12-9 edge in the first. ... Former New York D Marek Malik heard boos every time he touched the puck on his first trip back to Madison Square Garden. ... Smith received nine penalty minutes with 1:41 left after a scrap with Aaron Voros.