The New York Rangers are rightfully confident in Antti Raanta’s ability to sub in for Henrik Lundqvist while the franchise netminder recovers from injury. And like any goaltender, games like the one Raanta had on Monday night are going to happen.
Raanta had a tough night, stopping 13 of 16 Tampa Bay Lightning shots, and the Rangers were forced to take a rare loss in the second half of a back-to-back set, falling 3-2 at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers (44-24-2)
actually ended up getting on the board first, with some history being made with Steven Kampfer scoring the first goal of his Rangers’ career, breaking Peter Budaj early. Tampa Bay countered with Brayden Point scoring a power play goal, but the Rangers seemed to have control by outshooting Tampa 13-3 in the first 20 minutes.
However, a good period couldn’t strike twice.
The Rangers struggled to get better opportunities throughout the remainder of the game, despite outshooting Tampa in each remaining period. Gabriel Dumont scored his second of the season to put the Lightning ahead, though Michael Grabner was able to temporarily tie things up with an unassisted goal. It was Grabner’s Rangers-high 27th goal of the season, and first since February 9.
However, the opportunities after that were at a premium for the Rangers, and they gave up the game winner in the third period, as Point did it again, scoring another for the 3-2 lead. With a pair of assists from Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning (33-26-9) were able to keep place in the race for the Eastern Conference playoffs.
With the loss, the Rangers will look to recover on Friday, when they take on another Floridian opponent, the Panthers, at home (7:00, MSG).