Superstar Jaromir Jagr leads the Rangers in goals and points, but it’s been the surprising strong play of a group of unheralded youngsters that has New York sitting atop the Atlantic Division.
Prucha’s stick-handling talents have helped the Rangers to two shootout wins. The 23-year-old Lundqvist leads the team with six wins and a 1.87 goals-against average.
Prucha scored the only goal in the shootout Wednesday to give the Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. It was the second time in five nights Prucha scored the game-winner in a shootout, New York’s only winners this season in the tiebreaker format.
“I don’t think about what I do,” said Prucha, who gave the Rangers a 3-2 victory over New Jersey on Saturday. “It was the same thing as last time. I saw the goalkeeper in the net, so I shot the puck up. Lucky goal.”
Prucha has three goals in 11 games this season.
Moore tied the game at 3-3 with three seconds left in the third period, and Lundqvist stopped all four shots by the Panthers in the shootout.
“I was a little nervous,” Lundvist said. “It’s a big challenge facing skilled players. But it’s fun when you win.”
The Lightning suffered through several losing seasons before their youngsters finally emerged to lead them to the 2003-2004 Stanley Cup title.
Tampa Bay has not looked as sharp this season, losing four straight to drop to 7-7-2 after 16 games. The losing streak is the defending champions’ longest since Dec. 9-16, 2003.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 9): Rangers - 21 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Lightning - 16 points, 2nd place, 7 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Jagr, 14 goals and 25 points; Martin Straka, 15 assists; Darius Kasparaitis, 30 PIM. Lightning - Vincent Lecavalier, 10 goals; Vaclav Prospal, 12 assists and 21 points; Pavel Kubina, 28 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 9): Rangers - Power play: 18.4 percent (19 for 103), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 88.1 percent (104 for 118), 2nd. Lightning - Power play: 13.0 percent (14 for 107), 26th (tied). Penalty killing: 86.7 percent (72 for 83), 5th.
SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: March 12, 2004. Lightning, 5-2. At Tampa Bay, Martin St. Louis scored two goals and assisted on a third to lead the Lightning.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 4-3-1 on the road; Lightning - 3-3-1 at home.