NEW YORK (AP)—Martin St. Louis took in all in stride as he sat alone in the Tampa Bay dressing room following a very satisfying victory.
St. Louis made it possible with a goal and an assist in the decisive third period Sunday night, and the weary Lightning held on to beat the New York Rangers 3-2.
The small, quick forward tied it with a breakaway goal during a power play 1:26 into the third period, then set up Cory Sarich for the winner at 8:23.
“We played a simple road game, nothing flashy,” St. Louis said.
Dave Andreychuk scored for the third straight game to tie it for the Lightning in the first period. Andreychuk, 40, is 11th on the NHL career goal list with 617 and he moved within one game of tying John Bucyk for eighth place.
Tampa Bay improved to 1-5-1 when trailing after two periods, all after a long day-and-a-half.
The Lightning followed up Saturday night’s 3-1 win at Buffalo by winning the third game played in four days. Complicating matters was the Northeast snowstorm that forced the team to stay in Buffalo on Saturday and not come until New York until Sunday morning.
“Obviously we didn’t get much rest,” St. Louis said. “A 5 o’clock game on a back-to-back day, there’s almost no time to think about it. You just get right back at it.”
The Lightning arrived about six hours before the puck dropped and held off the Rangers, who hadn’t played since a road win against the local Islanders on Thursday.
New York came out quickly, firing 10 shots at goalie John Grahame before eight minutes elapsed en route to 14 in the period. The Rangers had 17 the rest of the way.
“I was impressed,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “It was important to get out of that period the way we did.”
The Rangers twice held one-goal leads, but they weren’t able to build on either.
“If they get a couple of early goals they are so good about themselves and they get confidence,” St. Louis said. “That’s a tough thing to play against when they have that confidence because they have the players to hurt you.”
Tampa Bay has won the first two games of a three-game New York trip. The Lightning had lost the previous three games.
St. Louis broke free 1:34 into a penalty to Vladimir Malakhov that spanned the second and third periods. It was an infraction Rangers coach Glen Sather called “terrible.”
“We played like we are a .500 hockey club,” captain Mark Messier said of the 10-10-5-2 Rangers. “That is exactly where we sit because we do not do the things that it takes to win on a regular basis.”
The Lightning forward then made a pass from down low out to Sarich, who fired a shot past Dunham to make it 3-2.
Tampa Bay’s late offense lifted Grahame to his fourth victory. Grahame, who plays behind regular goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, snapped his two-game losing streak.
Grahame made 29 saves opposed from Dunham, who stopped 21. They are likely to be two key members of Team USA in next year’s World Cup of Hockey.
Carter gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead by tipping in Petr Nedved’s shot at the bottom of the right circle 5:39 in.
Andreychuk tied it with 7:59 left in the first period with help from the Rangers. Andreychuk lost control of the puck in the New York zone, but defenseman Brian Leetch steered it into his own net.
The Rangers went back in front when de Vries’ long drive beat Grahame 49seconds into the middle period.
Lightning RW Ben Clymer and D Dan Boyle missed the game after sustaining concussions Saturday night. Both are expected to miss at least a week. … Messier (thigh) and LW Dan LaCouture (shoulder) were back in the Rangers lineup. Messier missed one game, and LaCouture was out the previous six. They took the places of Jamie Lundmark (knee) and Richard Scott. … Andreychuk had just one goal in 21 games before the streak. … Leetch’s pointstreak was snapped at seven games.