Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rangers Bottle Up Lightning

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rangers Bottle Up Lightning

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - It's fair to say Carl Hagelin has thrived against the Lightning this season.

Then again, so have the Rangers.

Hagelin, in his second NHL season, recorded his third career two- goal game, and the Rangers beat the league's highest-scoring team for the second time in eight days, 5-1, Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

It was a season-high goal output for the Rangers (6-5-0), who got 19 saves from Henrik Lundqvist to move above .500 for the first time this season and win back-to-back games for just the second time. Lundqvist needed to be sharp with the Lightning nearly capitalizing several times on sloppy defensive play.

Still, the Rangers were bolstered by the return of defenseman Dan Girardi from a two-game absence. He was reunited in the second period with Marc Staal to match the Lightning's top line of Steven Stamkos centering Nate Thompson and Martin St. Louis. Hagelin's line with center Derek Stepan and Rick Nash also saw plenty of ice time against that trio.

All three of Hagelin's goals this season have come against the Lightning (6-5-0), who have lost four straight and were forced to bus to New York from Boston on Saturday afternoon after their game against the Bruins was canceled because of the snowstorm.

Nash added a goal with 8.3 seconds left in regulation and an assist, and Arron Asham had his first goal as a Ranger to make it, 4- 1, at 12:22 of the third period.

The Rangers beat the Lightning, 3-2, on Feb. 2 at Tampa Bay in what had been their most complete performance of the season.

That was also the last game Girardi played prior to Sunday as he had a consecutive game streak snapped at 145 when he missed Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Devils at Prudential Center because of an undisclosed injury.

"It strengthens it," coach John Tortorella said of the effect Girardi's return has on the lineup. "He's our anchor. He's a shutdown guy. He also brings some offense to us. He puts our people into place as it should be with the six [defensemen]. …

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