Sean Avery, in his first home game since being acquired from Los Angeles, scored his first goal with New York, and Marcel Hossa and Jaromir Jagr also scored as the Rangers earned a much-needed victory.
Almost forgotten was Henrik Lundqvist, who made 29 saves for his second shutout this season and fourth in his two-year career. New York, in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, moved within five points of the Lightning, who had a four-game winning streak ended.
Johan Holmqvist allowed four goals on 16 shots before Marc Denis relieved him in the second period. The numbers were bad enough, the scorers made things worse.
Orr seemed as surprised as anyone when his sweeping backhander from the left-circle dot found its way underneath the left pad of Holmqvist, who didn’t expect the drive from the six-foot-three, 220-pound bruiser.
And why should he? In 65 previous NHL games, including 29 this season, Orr’s offence consisted of one assist – registered on March 29, 2006, against the New York Islanders – and eight lifetime shots.
Orr has found it hard to stay in the lineup, having been scratched for five of the prior seven contests. When the red light went on at 4:28 of the first period, Orr thrust his arms up and waited for his teammates to celebrate his first goal.
Just over seven minutes later, Hossa made it 2-0 with his fourth goal. Hardly a prolific scorer like brother Marian of Atlanta, Marcel notched his fourth of the season and 24th in 176 career games at 11:32.
Holmqvist got through the rest of the period unscathed, but his troubles were merely delayed as Hollweg and Avery connected 5:57 apart in the second to drive the fourth-year goalie from the nets.
Hollweg, an energy source for the Rangers and the Madison Square Garden crowd, skated up ice after Jagr gathered a turnover in the neutral zone. Jagr, seemingly the bigger threat to Holmqvist, faked a shot from the right circle and deftly backhanded a pass to Hollweg at the left post for a quick redirect at 8:28.
It was the first point in 53 games this season for Hollweg, who hadn’t scored a goal in 84 contests, dating to Dec. 18, 2005. He had been scratched twice in four games after dressing for the first 50.
Avery’s goal at 14:25 was his 11th.
Not only were the scorers unusual, but it was the Rangers’ best output since before their losing streak. In the previous nine games, the Rangers totaled 20 goals and went 3-6.
All four losses in the skid were by one goal.
Jagr made it 5-0 at 3:32 of the third, when his shot squeezed under Denis’ right arm and crept across the goal line before the netminder could cover it with his glove.
Notes: It was the second straight game the Lightning allowed a player’s first NHL goal. Los Angeles D Mike Weaver did it Tuesday. … Tampa Bay captain Tim Taylor was a healthy scratch for the fourth time in five games. … The Rangers traded RW Adam Hall to Minnesota for LW Pascal Dupuis. … Orr received a fighting major and a misconduct. Hollweg was given majors for kneeing and fighting and was ejected in the third period. They have combined for 328 penalty minutes this season.