Naslund leads Rangers over Lightning

TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) — Markus Naslund scored two goals in
regulation and added a tally in the first round of a shootout as
the New York Rangers skated to a 3-2 triumph over the Tampa Bay
Lightning on Wednesday.

Nikolai Zherdev had two assists and also scored in the bonus
format, while Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves before denying
Radim Vrbata and Jussi Jokinen in the shootout to secure the

Ryan Malone and veteran Mark Recchi each scored for the
Lightning, who have dropped seven of their last eight contests.

“We’re just having a tough time scoring goals,” Lightning coach
Rick Tocchet said. “It’s a little disappointing, but we got to
roll up the sleeves and go to work. … We’re not going to back
down from it. … You’re not talking about loose pucks, going
to the net, things like that.”

After Lundqvist turned aside Vrbata’s attempt, Naslund
capitalized with a backhander that flew past the glove of Tampa
Bay goaltender Mike Smith in the first round.

“It’s a special play, for sure, and it’s a nice feeling when you
do score because there’s points on the line and you want to
help,” Naslund said. “You can’t expect Henrik to save them all
so, it’s nice to get a couple for him.”

Then, Jokinen’s wrist shot was stopped and Zherdev clinched the
win with a snap shot.

Naslund opened the scoring 2:40 into the second period, but
Malone beat Lundqvist with the man advantage while sitting on
the doorstep 89 seconds later to even the game.

“We know that this is a tough building to play in and they’re a
desperate team,” Naslund said. “We had to work hard to get the
win, but it was nice to get it.”

With 2:03 remaining in the session, Naslund redirected
defenseman Michal Rozsival’s initial attempt while positioned in
the slot to give New York another one-goal lead. Naslund now
has 15 points – eight goals and seven assists – in his last 17

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“We were going to win the game,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said.
“To a man, everybody says we’re going to get that back (in the
shootout) and win the hockey game and it was as simple as that.
So that’s what you want to hear as a coach.”

Lundqvist was impenetrable in the third until Tampa Bay pulled
Smith for the extra skater and Recchi deflected a shot from
Martin St. Louis past the Swedish netminder with 50 seconds

“I didn’t see it. I had to go down to block it and the last
time I saw it, it just bounced, hit the post and in,” Lundqvist
said. “A lot of times, that’s the way you score goals late in
games. There’s a lot of traffic in front. A lot of times it’s
not the hardest shot, it’s more the tricky shot that goes in.

“At first, I was disappointed, but now when you’ve got two
points you don’t really care. “We settled down and we came out
pretty good in the overtime.”

Smith finished with 33 saves and captain Vincent Lecavalier had
an assist, extending his points streak to five games.

“It’s disappointing, obviously, not getting the two points but
it’s not a lack of effort,” St. Louis said. “If we play like
that and battle like that, game in, game out, I like our chances
of coming out on top. The guys stepped up after a poor game we
had against the Devils (a 7-3 loss on Sunday). It’s just
unfortunate we didn’t get the two points.”