TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Derek Stepan had a tiebreaking goal and added an assist, helping the New York Rangers extend their winning streak to five with a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Stepan, who took a shot off his left ankle in Thursday’s 5-3 win over Carolina, gave New York a 3-2 lead on a low slot rebound goal with 3:19 left in the game. Brad Richards scored an empty-netter in the final minute.
The Rangers also got goals from Ruslan Fedotenko and Artem Anisimov. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 24 shots.
Steve Downie and Tom Pyatt scored for the Lightning, who have lost five of seven. Mathieu Garon made 32 saves.
It was the first meeting between the teams this season. Tampa Bay swept all four games against the Rangers last season, with four different goalies — Mike Smith, Dan Ellis, Cedrick Desjardins and Dwayne Roloson — each getting a win.
Lundqvist has started for the Rangers in their past 25 games, dating to Nov. 10, 2005, against the Lightning.
Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 when Pyatt scored from the low left circle with 2:18 left in the second. Anisimov made it 2-2 at 6:16 of the third after a Tampa Bay defensive zone turnover.
Fedotenko tied it at 1 at 6:38 of the second with an in-close backhander off a pass from Richards. Both were key members of Tampa Bay’s 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, which was coached by current Rangers coach John Tortorella.
Downie put the Lightning up 1-0 from the high slot 84 seconds into the game. Garon made a pad save midway through the first on Marian Gaborik’s backhander during a breakaway.
Tampa Bay has held the lead after the first period just four times this season.
The contest was penalty-free until Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina received an elbowing minor with 7:35 to go in the third.
Notes: New York is 12-2-0 in its last 14 games. … Tampa Bay C Steven Stamkos had an assist, extending his point streak (3 assists, eight points) to six games. … Downie has three goals and 10 points in 10 games against the Rangers. … Lightning C Nate Thompson stopped a personal 15-game point drought by assisting on Pyatt’s goal. … The game had a three-man officiating crew because linesman Pierre Champoux was ill.
(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.)