The last time Michael Grabner tallied a hat trick, it was also in New York, albeit in Buffalo at KeyBank Center, then known as HSBC Arena. The last time Michael Grabner scored a hat trick, he also repped a New York team, albeit the New York Islanders, guiding them to a 7-6 overtime winner, including the game winner, over Buffalo.
The date was February 13, 2011. For their game on October 30, 2016, the New York Rangers were glad to see Grabner again get three goals.
The Rangers newcomer tallied half of their offense on Sunday night, as the Rangers downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-1, in a game that was never as in doubt as Grabner’s last triple game. The trio put Grabner in the team lead for goals overnight, tied with another scorer on the evening, fellow newcomer Jimmy Vesey.
The Rangers (6-3-0) were held scoreless in the first period, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. They peppered the Tampa Bay net for 16 shots, but failed to get any across. That all changed in the second, as the Rangers accomplished their most successful period of the season, outscoring Tampa 4-0.
Rick Nash would open the scoring just before five minutes went by, putting a pass from Nick Holden past Ben Bishop to make it 1-0. Grabner then got on the board just under two minutes later, as his first tally was the second goal of the night. A trio of goals in a 2:19 span was completed when it was Nash’s turn to spread the love, assisting on the rookie Vesey’s fifth goal of the season to make it 3-0. JT Miller scored in penultimate minute of the period for a 4-0 lead headed into the second intermission.
With Bishop still in net, Grabner put the finish touches on his hat trick, with great
assistance from his linemates Miller and Kevin Hayes, who combined for five assists on the night. Ryan McDonagh also got in on the fun with his team-high eighth assist on the third goal, tying him for the team lead in points with Mika Zibanejad at eight. Save for a meaningless tally in the late stages by Steven Stamkos, Antti Raanta was otherwise perfect, preserving the blowout with 31 saves. Dating back to last season, the Rangers posted their third consecutive win over Tampa Bay (5-4-0) whose skaters include notable former Rangers Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman. The 2015 Eastern Conference finalists will meet again in March, for the two meetings that will complete their season set.
Speaking of season sets, the Rangers will conclude theirs with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night (7:00 PM, MSG)