TAMPA -- A night after he was benched for what coach John Tortorella called "a stupid penalty" and almost was benched again, Brandon Dubinsky responded.
Dubinsky, who Tortorella said would have been in street clothes if there were another healthy forward, scored his second goal in 21 games at 16:33 of the third period to tie Friday night's game at three, securing a point for the Rangers before the Lightning won 4-3 in overtime.
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"I'm happy the way he answered," Tortorella said. "He shut his mouth, sat on the bench and played when I put him on. We gave him an opportunity. I hope he grows off that and continues with his discipline."
Dubinsky began the game centering the fourth line, but was moved around by Tortorella, who felt "he had some juice in him," some energy from not playing even six minutes against the Hurricanes on Thursday.
"I thought he played really well, it was a big goal for us," Tortorella said. "I love the guy. If we want to continue to improve as a team, he needs to be part of this. You wait, you wait, you wait, and you do something stupid like he did last night, he's gonna pay the price."
Dubinsky was humble. "Just trying to be a professional," he said.
Dubinsky played 11:50, attempted five shots and had two hits. "I've been around long enough, I understand what I did the last game and I understand the punishment," he said. "It's something I wanted to move past and I did. That just means I've got to come prepared to play other nights and that's what I've got to do the rest of the year for this team in order to help us be successful and where we want to be."
In the third period, the Lightning rallied to move ahead 3-2 on the 45th goal of the season by the NHL's leading scorer, Steven Stamkos, but Dubinsky ripped a shot past Mathieu Garon before Ryan Malone won it 1:58 into overtime. Remarkably, in all four games between the Rangers and Lightning this season, the team trailing after two periods has come back to win.
Lundqvist, who lost for only the third time in 13 starts, was particularly under siege in the first and second periods, and faced 31 shots. The Rangers managed just 19. "They created a lot of chances by being very aggressive from start to finish," said Lundqvist.
Although the Rangers had been 26-0-2 leading after two periods, and the Lightning trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes, the Blueshirts' three-game winning streak was stopped. But with 89 points, they continue to lead the Eastern Conference by 10 points and face the second-place Bruins on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
"I thought we were late in a lot of plays, really struggled with our battles in the corners," said Tortorella. "We're a banged-up hockey club, a tired team, but no excuses. The team that played the best won. I'm happy with the point."