Sunday, October 5, 2008

New York Rangers sweep Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague

The New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning by the same score (2-1) for the second time in two days, in Prague, Czech Republic. Tampa's Adam Hall got the first goal of the game, late in the first period (Chris Gratton and former Ottawa Senator Andrej Meszaros on the assist), while Meszaros' former teammate Wade Redden tied it for the Blueshirts at about four minutes into the second on a power play (with Markus Nasland and Scott Gomez on the assist). Gomez got the game winning goal eight and a half minutes later (in which Redden also notched his second point, with help from Aaron Voros).

Like yesterday, the Rangers pummeled the Lightning with shots (who only put up 3 shots in the first period), yet the final spread was only one point. Olaf Kolzig, in his first NHL game away from the Washington Capitals (with whom he played 711 games in 16 seasons), stopped 37 of 39 shots. On the other hand, Henrik "King of New York / Vezina finalist" Lundqvist only saw 19 shots on goal, stopping 18 of them. As Mel Brooks would say, it's good to be the king.


The Lightning did win 29 of 17 faceoffs, yet failed to convert any of their 5 power plays. Defenseman Meszaros also cracked the 30 minute mark in ice time, nearly 7 minutes more than his closest teammate (former San Jose Shark Matt Carle - who was a plus-1, by the way). Lastly, new Tampa Bay coach Barry Melrose, in his first NHL games since coaching the Wayne Gretzky-led Los Angeles Kings, is without a win. Consequently, the Tampa Bay Lightning begin the season - technically - in 15th place.

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