Rangers rebound with big win over Lightning
TAMPA, Fla. -- Rick Nash broke a tie at 3:04 of the third period on a highlight-reel rush, and Martin Biron, in his first start of the season, made 30 saves as the Rangers broke the Lightning's five-game winning streak Saturday night and reached the .500 mark again with a 3-2 win.
Brad Richards waited to drop the puck to Nash, who burst down the right wall past defenseman Victor Hedman, angled to the net and stuffed the puck past Mathieu Garon's extended pad and the far post for his second goal of the season. The go-ahead goal gave the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead and a boost after they were beaten, 3-0, by the Penguins on Thursday, an effort coach John Tortorella called "the worst of the year, collectively."
"I kinda saw I had an extra step on him and I knew I could use my body and cut in, it was just a matter of waiting out Garon," said Nash, who was acquired from the Blue Jackets in the biggest deal of the offseason. "His leg was stretched and I knew if I could just wait him out a half-second longer, I could just tuck it in the little open space."
"I've seen him do that with Columbus," Tortorella said. "He's been around chances, but you could sense that he was getting a little frustrated."
Said defenseman Marc Staal: "It's nice that he's not doing that on us anymore."
Secondary scoring also played a huge role in the team's first road win in three tries. Carl Hagelin, with his first goal in 36 games, made it 3-1 by reaching to deflect Taylor Pyatt's shuffleboard-style pass at 14:47 of the third period. Derek Stepan, the center on the line with Hagelin and Pyatt (two assists) -- the Rangers' best trio Saturday night -- snapped his own goal drought of 21 games on a rebound at 9:50 of the second to tie the game at 1. It was Stepan's first goal since the playoffs against the Senators, and the first Rangers goal since Ryan Callahan's in the second period against the Flyers on Tuesday.
"We worked pretty hard tonight," Stepan said. "Taylor hangs on to it, Carl gets to it, we just seemed to get a little flow going and it kept building, kept snowballing. We seemed to find each other. It's a great mixture."
This was quite a rebound from Thursday's loss and Biron played very well despite his only other action being a relief appearance against the Penguins on Jan. 20. And consider this: The Lightning had not scored fewer than three goals in a game this season and have surpassed five goals five times.
"He hasn't played much, but he settles a team down," Tortorella said. "There's not a lot of wasted motion, he's just very calm and moves the puck well."
Biron, who said he has been bearing down at practice to prepare for his first start, said he set himself some goals: "And the first was to win. We got the puck out of the zone quickly, we were cycling to wear them down, and they couldn't get the puck to their skill forwards, which is what we wanted to do."