NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at NY Rangers
(Sunday, February 14th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 5, Tampa Bay 2
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Erik Christensen tallied twice and picked up an assist, as the New York Rangers scored five unanswered goals -- four coming in the second period -- to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2, at Madison Square Garden.
Vinny Prospal had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who closed out their pre-Olympic schedule by winning three of four.
New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who'll try to backstop Sweden to a second straight gold medal, made 27 saves.
Sophomore sensation Steven Stamkos registered a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay to extend his point streak to 13 games, tying the club record. Stamkos has 10 goals and 13 assists during that span.
Steve Downie also scored and collected a helper for the Lightning, who have lost three in a row in advance of the league's two-week hiatus.
Mike Smith, making his first start since January 31, stopped just 18-of-22 shots in defeat.
"This time of year your goalie's got to be your best player," Smith said. "It didn't happen at our end of the rink."
Both clubs have 63 points on the season, one point behind Montreal for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York, trailing 2-0 after the first period, responded with four second- period goals to grab a 4-2 lead.
Sean Avery converted a penalty shot at the 1:40 mark, and Prospal tied the game at 6:07 when he jumped on a loose puck in the slot and fired it over Smith's right shoulder.
Christensen capped the offensive surge with two goals separated by 1:46. He fired a shot from the right side of the net under Smith's pads, then beat the Tampa Bay stopper on the blocker side with 6:08 to play in the middle frame.
"We were all so disappointed after the first period coming off a strong (overtime win) against Pittsburgh," Lundqvist said. "We felt really good going into the game, but I don't know what happened. The big thing is that we responded really well in the second period."
Chris Drury's empty-net goal in the waning moments of regulation sealed the win and gave the New York captain 600 career points.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring on the power play as Stamkos' goal matched the franchise's point streak. The top pick in the 2008 draft, Stamkos uncoiled a slap shot from the left point that struck the stick of a Rangers player and slid through the Lundqvist's legs with 4:27 remaining in the first period.
Downie made it 2-0 just 90 seconds later. Stamkos came off the bench, took a rink-wide feed from Alex Tanguay and fired a wrister that Downie deflected past the New York netminder.
Stamkos tied the record held by Prospal, Martin St. Louis and Brian Bradley...Prospal has five goals in his last five games...A cut on his right thigh forced New York's leading scorer, Marian Gaborik, to sit out for the second time in three games...Rangers rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto missed the game because of a chest laceration suffered Friday in Pittsburgh...Both clubs resume play on March 2. The Rangers visit Ottawa, while Tampa Bay hosts Philadelphia.
02/14 17:16:51 ET