Kreider, Motte lead Rangers to 6-3 win over Lightning
NEW YORK - Chris Kreider and Tyler Motte each scored twice and the New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 on Wednesday night.
Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin also scored, Mika Zibanejad had three assists and Barclay Goodrow and Adam Fox each had two to help the Rangers win for the fifth time in seven games and improve to 11-2-2 in their last 15 games. Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots to win for the ninth time in his last 11 starts.
Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist, and Darren Raddysh and Brandon Hagel also scored for Tampa Bay, which snapped a three-game win streak. Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 31 saves.
It was a physical game that featured four fights and several hard hits in a matchup of teams that met in the Eastern Conference final last year, which the Lightning won in six games to advance to their third straight Stanley Cup Final.
Kreider got his second of the night and 35th of the season to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead with 8 1/2 minutes remaining in the third as he knocked in the rebound of Zibanejad's backhander that went off the post and the back of Vasilevskiy's pad and came out on the right side of the crease. Zibanejad got his 600th career point on the play.
Panarin scored on a power play from high in the left circle with 6:11 left for his 26th to push New York's lead to 6-3.
Trailing 3-1 after one period, the Lightning pulled within one as Raddysh fired a shot from center point that appeared to deflect off the stick of Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider past Shesterkin at 7:10 of the second. It was Raddysh's first career goal in his 17th NHL game.
Just 15 seconds later, Motte beat Vasilveskiy on a breakaway for his second of the night and eighth of the season to restore New York's two-goal lead. It gave Motte his third career two-goal game.
The Lightning pulled to 4-3 with 8 1/2 minutes remaining in the middle period on a play that needed an officials' review. Killorn skated in on Shesterkin, and the goalie stopped his initial shot and attempt on the rebound as he fell back into the goal. Hagel then knocked the puck into Shesterkin in the goal. It was Hagel's 28th.
Kreider deflected Vladimir Tarasenko's shot from center point for a power-play goal 6:13 into the game on the Rangers second shot on goal. It was Kreider's 263rd of his career, breaking a tie with Vic Hadfield for sole possession of fifth place on the franchise list. Andy Bathgate is fourth at 272.
Kakko made it 2-0 at 7:41 on the Rangers' next shot as he beat Vasilevskiy on the blocker side for his 17th.
Motte sent a shot from the left side near the boards that fluttered past Vasilevskiy's blocker to make it 3-0 with 9:39 remaining in the first.
It gave the Rangers three goals on their first six shots after Vasilevskiy had stopped 99 of 100 shots in the Lightning's previous three games — including two shutouts.
Killorn redirected Mikhail Sergachev's long shot on a power play to get the Lightning on the scoreboard 19 seconds later. It was Killorn's 25th.
KANE OUT, LINDGREN RETURNS
Rangers RW Patrick Kane sat out for what coach Gerard Gallant said was a maintenance day/lower body issue and was day to day. Ryan Lindgren returned to the lineup after missing the 17 of the last 18 games due to an upper body injury. The Rangers used a lineup with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
Shortly before Kakko's first-period goal, Jacob Trouba landed face-first on the ice after falling awkwardly following a hit by Corey Perry in the corner to Shesterkin’s right. He later left the bench and headed to the locker room. The Rangers announced during the first intermission that Trouba would not return.
The Rangers improved to 32-0-0 this season when scoring four or more goals. They are only team in the league that is unbeaten in such circumstances. ... Lightning RW Nikita Kucherov had an assist on Killorn's goal in the first period, giving him 78 assists and 107 points on the season.
Lightning: At the New York Islanders on Thursday night in the second of a three-game trip.
Rangers: At St. Louis on Thursday night in the opener of a two-game trip.