By Larry Fleisher
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Captain Chris Drury recorded his second
career hat trick and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots as the
New York Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2, on
Ryan Callahan and defenseman Marc Staal also tallied and Nikolai
Zherdev added a pair of assists for New York, which has won all
three meetings with Tampa Bay this season. The teams opened the
campaign with a two-game series in Prague, Czech Republic.
Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who
have lost two straight following a three-game winning streak.
Drury's huge night helped the Rangers bounce back from sub-par
showings against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and the New
York Islanders two nights ago at home.
The loss to the Islanders was highlighted by an awful showing on
the power play, which saw the Rangers allow two shorthanded
goals. The Rangers, who have allowed five shorthanders, entered
this one with a power-play unit that ranked 29th in the league.
"We're aware of it daily," Drury said of the struggles on
special teams. "There are reminders of it everywhere, certainly
the other night with two shorthanded goals (against). It
doesn't get worse than that. It was nice to bounce back and get
on the board tonight."
On Thursday, the Rangers excelled with the man advantage, going
"We put a twist into part of our power play, which obviously
caught our opponent off-guard," Rangers coach Tom Renney said.
The Rangers opened the scoring on Callahan's power-play tally
with 3:51 remaining in the period. Drury doubled the advantage
with the team's first shorthanded goal on a breakaway with 5 1/2
minutes to go in the second.
After getting goaltender Mike Smith to sprawl out in the crease,
Drury went to his right and fired the puck into the vacant net.
"I had a breakaway against him in Prague, and one last year
against Dallas, and I shot both times," Drury said. "When I was
going in, I was thinking, 'I'm not shooting, I'm 0-for-2.' I
wanted to make a move and see what was going to happen."
St. Louis halved the deficit just over four minutes later, but
Drury's power-play tally 35 seconds into the third restored the
Ryan Malone beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot at 7:58 to draw
Tampa Bay within 3-2. However, the Rangers answered 29 seconds
later, when Staal ripped a slap shot through traffic and past
Drury capped his impressive effort with a empty-netter with 28
"We know full well that he's a timely goal-scorer, and he scored
big ones," Renney said. "This was a big night for us. It
wasn't just one, it was three. Without Chris in our lineup,
we'd still be out there."
The final goal came after the Smith got frustrated with Aaron
Voros and was given penalties for high-sticking and slashing.
"It's my job to stop the puck, and I definitely think the
emotions got the better of me there," said Smith, who stopped 30
Despite the loss, Tampa Bay coach Barry Melrose was pleased with
"It was great," Melrose said of his team's comeback attempts.
"We played hard, coming from behind and battling. The last two
periods, we outshot them and outchanced them."