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(Tuesday, January 14th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 2, NY Rangers 1
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov scored nine seconds apart in the second period, supporting a strong return from Ben Bishop and lifting the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Making his first appearance since spraining his right wrist on Jan. 5, Bishop allowed just Brad Richards' first-period goal on 34 shots to outduel Henrik Lundqvist and put an end to the Rangers' season high-tying three-game win streak.
"Ben was probably our best player tonight," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. "When you're going on the road and trying to win a hockey game, it all starts with goaltending and he gave us a chance to win tonight."
Lundqvist finished with 23 saves.
Down 1-0 after one period, the Lightning wasted little time moving ahead by potting a pair of goals less than 90 seconds into the second.
Ryan Callahan's penalty for a high stick on Bishop was converted into Hedman's 10th marker of the season, a long drive that rocketed past Lundqvist's glove with 1:10 elapsed in the middle session.
Tampa Bay then won the opening faceoff, with Kucherov splitting the Ranger defense while receiving a well-placed pass from Radko Gudas before beating Lundqvist one-on-one to put the Lightning in front.
"Kucherov, I don't know how he gets open like that," said Cooper. "It's like pucks fall out of the sky."
Bishop made the lead stand with a 12-save second period and 11 more in the third, helping kill off a pair of New York power plays in the final 14 minutes.
The Rangers' best chance at drawing even came on the first of those man advantages, but Ryan McDonagh had a deflected shot hit the post and Bishop later stoned Mats Zuccarello from close range with under 12 1/2 minutes left.
New York received another 5-on-4 when Alex Killorn was sent off for tripping with 4:39 to go, but again failed to convert.
"We had enough chances to come back and at the end of the game we have to find a way to score more goals," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault.
Richards had the lone score during a penalty-free opening period, landing a quick snap shot by Bishop off a Callahan feed with 8:05 remaining in the frame.
Tampa Bay's two goals within nine seconds tied a franchise record for quickest back-to-back scores, initially set by Dave Andreychuk and Fredrik Modin at New Jersey on Jan. 9, 2004 ... Bishop has won all five of his career starts against the Rangers, including a 37-save shutout in Tampa on Nov. 25 ... New York lost for only the fourth time (19-3-1) in 23 games this season when scoring first ... Richards' goal extended his point streak to six games ... Lightning defenseman Sami Salo missed a second straight game due to a bruised ankle, while center Nate Thompson was scratched with the flu.
01/14 22:31:30 ET
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