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NHL Game Summary - NY Rangers at Tampa Bay

(Saturday, December 23rd)

Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, New York 3

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Dan Boyle netted his first career hat trick, with all three goals coming in the third period, as the Tampa Bay Lightning completed a stunning comeback to defeat the New York Rangers, 4-3, at St. Pete Times Forum.

Boyle, who is only the second defenseman in Tampa Bay history to record a hat trick, also notched an assist on Vincent Lecavalier's game-tying goal as the Lightning won their third straight game, equaling their best win streak of the season. Tampa Bay had gone 1-7-1 in its last nine games before the three-win stretch.

"I just reminded myself to shoot the puck," said Boyle. "I made a lot of passes in the first two periods to try to set up guys, which is what I usually do. But again, I just reminded myself to shoot more."

Marc Denis allowed three goals on just 16 shots in two periods of play before Johan Holmqvist took over netminding duties in the third and made 12 saves to ice the win.

Martin Straka had a goal and an assist, and Blair Betts and Aaron Ward also tallied for the Rangers, who dropped their fifth straight contest. New York last dropped five in a row to close the 2005-06 regular season.

Henrik Lundqvist returned to the lineup after battling the flu and made 22 saves, but stopped just six of ten shots in the final stanza amidst the Rangers collapse.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the final period, Tampa Bay's offense exploded for three goals in under five minutes to tie things up before grabbing the lead for good later in the stanza.

Boyle started things off by scoring on the power play with 1:02 expired in the period.

He followed up that effort just 1:27 later with another marker, then assisted on Lecavalier's power-play goal that tied the score at 5:56.

Boyle completed the hat trick on a wrist shot from the slot to make it 4-3 with 8:57 left.

"Ninety percent of the time I would try to pass that puck out but things were going pretty well for me there and I just made the decision that I was going to take it up there and I decided to fire a shot at the net," Boyle remarked. "When things go well, they go well."

Amazingly, New York outshot Tampa Bay 12-10 in the final period and also pulled their netminder with under a minute remaining, but couldn't get off a shot with the man-advantage.

New York finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Lightning went 2-for-6.

"We will be better for this," said Rangers Head Coach Tom Renney. "It's about a captive audience, being disappointed and upset enough as players and really wanting to do something about it, and the reason I say that is I believe we want to do that and I believe we're more than capable of doing that."

Given a 5-on-3 for over a minute, the Rangers cashed in just 42 seconds later with their first score of the contest. Brendan Shanahan fired a shot from the left faceoff circle that was blocked, but the rebound came out to Straka just inside the right circle and he was able to bang the puck into empty net at 16:37 in the first period.

The Blueshirts struck again with just 52 ticks remaining in the period, off a turnover just inside the blue line. Betts corralled the puck and fired a 49- foot slapshot that flew over the glove of Denis for the 2-0 advantage.

New York took a 3-0 lead on Ward's third tally of the season and his first since October. Nylander started the play, sliding a pass to Straka after striding across the blueline. Straka played the puck off the boards before sending a cross-ice pass to Ward, who beat Denis on a one-timer at 8:17 in the second period.

Game Notes

Lecavalier has a point in 11 of his last 12 games, recording 11 goals and 10 assists in the stretch...Brad Richards had a pair of assists for Tampa Bay...Michael Nylander also returned for New York after missing three games with the flu...The Rangers are 3-1-2 in their last six matchups with the Lightning, but have lost in five of their last seven visits to Tampa...Tampa Bay has the weakest penalty-killing team in the NHL, allowing a goal in one out of every four power-plays against them this season...The official attendance was 20,122.

12/24 00:27:49 ET

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