TAMPA, Fla. -- The discipline that the Rangers were lacking finally came to the forefront last night.
After committing six or more penalties in practically every game, the Blueshirts were whistled for just one, Stu Bickel's hooking at 3:16 of the first period, which resulted in a Steven Stamkos goal, the first of two for him.
"They got a power-play goal and they got a goal six-on-five [with the goalie pulled]," Rangers goalie Martin Biron said. "Otherwise, nothing else. We knew that they have a power play that's like 40 percent [actually 35 percent efficiency], so that was a key for us, to stay out of the box."
And for the first time in four games, the team did not commit a too-many-men on the ice infraction.
Defenseman Marc Staal said the focus and positioning was evident: "We were in their end zone for a lot of the game . . . those wall battles, protecting the puck; things we were inconsistent with. Even on draws, knowing where to be, I feel like we were talking a lot more -- that keeps us in good positions where you don't have to reach with your stick."
How did they acknowledge the recognition? Richards did not raise his stick during the cheers when the scoreboard read "Our Cup MVP." Tortorella encouraged the Rangers on the bench while the fans gave him a standing ovation . . . Ryan Callahan (dislocated shoulder) missed his second consecutive game . . . Chris Kreider (bone chip in ankle) skated in the morning, but was scratched again.