The Tampa Bay Lightning are nearly unstoppable at home, but their first extended road trip turned out to be absolutely horrible. The offense going cold and bad bounces have certainly contributed, but they aren’t the Lightning’s only issue, as evidenced by tonight’s result: a 5-1 beatdown at the hands of the New York Rangers.
To start things off, the Rangers scored nearly 30 seconds into things, with Carl Hagelin knocking the puck past goaltender Mathieu Garon. The Lightning netminder then allowed two more goals, one off a three-on-one rush, before being pulled for Anders Lindback. The fact Garon let in two weak ones early, plus he just faced (and lost) to the Rangers eight days ago at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, also had me scratching my head as to why head coach Guy Boucher opted to start him.
A lack of scoring on breakaways didn’t help as well, with Henrik Lundqvist completely robbing Vincent Lecavalier of the potential tying goal. Just mere minutes later, Ryan Callahan walked in untouched, rifling a shot past Garon to make it 2-0. This just seems to be the way things go when a team’s stumbling, which the Lightning most definitely are.
The Lightning finally got on the board late in the second period, with Lecavalier sneaking an Alex Killorn rebound past Lundqvist. That sparked the team, but the Rangers netminder showed why he’s the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Speaking of Killorn, the recent call-up from AHL Syracuse performed pretty well in his debut, tallying an assist. He also mainly played second line minutes given the fact Ryan Malone was a late scratch with a lower body injury. Hopefully the Malone scratch was more precautionary, as we can’t afford to lose him for an extended period of time.
It was all Rangers in the third, with Aaron Asham and Rick Nash scoring to make it 5-1. For Asham, it marked his first Ranger goal.
There’s some good news though, as the Lightning return home following this disastrous 0-3 road trip. They host the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday and Washington Capitals Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. before a quick trip south for an afternoon (3 p.m.) game next Saturday against the Florida Panthers. Hopefully this will help spark the Lightning, possibly resulting in the beginning of a brand new winning streak.