Zibanejad scores late, Rangers beat Lightning 2-1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mika Zibanejad scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 16 seconds left in the third period and the New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Saturday night.
Jacob Trouba also scored and Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots for New York.
Shesterkin set a franchise record for the fewest appearances for 30 wins in a season in his 41st game. Henrik Lundqvist held the previous mark, needing 46 games in 2014-15.
“I think we’re finding our game, and everybody’s enjoying it,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “A low-scoring playoff type of game.”
Brayden Point scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy had 25 saves for the Lightning, who were coming off a 3-3 road trip.
“Frustration,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “We take six minors, we put a skilled team like that on the power play for 11 minutes, while our guys sit on the bench. The story of the game is, ‘Hey, how great is the PK.’ It should never be the story of the game.”
Zibanejad scored from the left circle off a nifty pass from Artemi Panarin. The Rangers’ second-ranked power play went 1 for 6.
“Power-play was a little off tonight until it gets the winning goal at the end,” Gallant said. “It was a great hockey game. It was a fun game to coach.”
Shesterkin stopped an in-close chance from Alex Killorn during a Tampa Bay power play but couldn’t locate the puck before Point poked it between the goalie’s legs to open the scoring with 3:19 left in the first period.
The Lightning went 1 for 3 on their power-play chances.
Trouba tied it at 1 with a rebound goal at 9:25 of the second.
Both goalies had big saves early in the second period. Nikita Kucherov had his right circle shot go off the shaft of Shesterkin’s stick, while Vasilevskiy stopped Panarin’s 3-on-1 shot during a power play.
“It was a goaltending duel ,for sure,” Point said.
The Rangers swept the season series (3-0) for the first time since 2012-13.
Forward Brandon Hagel, acquired by Tampa Bay from the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, was held pointless. He played 10:40 and had one shot.
Panarin has just one goal in 14 games against Tampa Bay. The left wing had three shots on goal, and two others that missed the net. ... Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has no goals in his last seven games. Shesterkin stopped Stamkos’ low slot shot early in the third. ... Rangers left wing Chris Kreider, who has 40 goals this season, including league-leading 21 on the power play, didn’t have a shot on goal.
Vasilevskiy played in his 350th game. ... Point stopped a six-game goal drought with his 23rd goal, coming in his 47th game. ... Lightning D Victor Hedman assisted on Point’s goal for his 256th assist at home, which moved him past Vincent Lecavalier into sole possession of third place in franchise history.
Rangers: At Carolina on Sunday night.
Lightning: At Carolina on Tuesday night to open a four-game trip. It completes a stretch of 10 of 11 games away from home.
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