Losers of three of their past four games, the New York Rangers needed to get hot in sunny Florida.
They weren’t at the absolute top of their game against a Tampa Bay Lightning team fighting for their playoff lives, but an overtime win, plus some epic goaltending, gavee them a big win.
Antti Raanta made a whopping 38 saves, and Mika Zibanejad scored an overtime goal for the second time in nine days, and the Rangers posted a 1-0 victory in the first game of a four game road trip.
The teams exchanged control of the game through the periods. It was the Rangers (42-22-2) who had power in the first, outshooting Tampa Bay 12-9. The Lightning (30-26-9) took over shortly after though, outshooting the Blueshirts 16-12, and they had a little bit of help from their opponent, athe Rangers took six penalties. Despite this, they held very strong, the penalty kill unit killing off all dozen penalty minutes. The third period was actually played mostly foul-free, though thanks to the efforts of Raanta and Andrei Vasilevskiy, the game remained scoreless after 60 minutes.
The 3-on-3 overtime continued the frenzied pace of regulation, with each team breaking loose, though shots on net remained at a premium thanks to good defense. In the penultimate minute, the Rangers emerged for the game winning score, as Ryan McDonagh found Zibanejad for the breakaway, and he put his ninth goal of the season past Vasilevskiy for the minimum 1-0 win.
The Rangers will continue their road trip immediately, taking on the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.