Steven Stamkos scored in the second period to give Tampa Bay a three-goal lead, Louis Domingue stopped 31 shots, and the Lightning held on to beat the Rangers, 3-2, on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Yanni Gourde and Erik Cernak also scored to help the league-best Lightning earn their 39th win and become the first team to reach 80 points this season.
“We got in our groove after the first,” said Domingue, who had 15 saves in the third period in improve to 17-4-0 this season. “Our forecheck has been awesome. We get some huge blocked shots, and there you have it.”
Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes scored for the Rangers, and Mika Zibanejad had two assists. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 20 saves as the Rangers lost for the second time in three games since the All-Star break.
The Rangers had a chance to tie it when their former captain Ryan McDonagh took a tripping penalty with 5 minutes 51 seconds left in the third period, but they were unable to generate any shots on the power play. They also pulled Lundqvist for an extra skater with a little more than two minutes left to no avail.
Gourde opened the scoring at 6:51 of the first, tapping a loose puck past Lundqvist. McDonagh — in his second game back at the Garden since he was traded to the Lightning late last season — had an assist.
Cernak made it 2-0 with his first career goal at 4:41 of the second, rifling the puck past Lundqvist from the slot. Another former Rangers captain — Ryan Callahan — had an assist.
Stamkos made it 3-0 with his 28th at 8:33 of the second period with assists to Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov, who leads the Lightning with 80 points.
Zuccarello — playing his 500th game for the Rangers and becoming the first player from Norway to reach that milestone — got the Rangers on the scoreboard with 3:43 left in the middle period with his ninth goal.
Hayes narrowed the deficit to 3-2 when he converted a cross-ice pass from Zibanejad at 6:49 of the third on a power play. After Zuccarello’s pass went awry out of the Lightning zone, Lundqvist retrieved the puck and sent it up the ice to Zibanejad. It was the third assist this season for Lundqvist.
Zuccarello has points in his last seven games — five goals and eight assists — and the line of him, Zibanejad and Chris Kreider has 35 points combined over the last seven games in which all three have played.
“We battled hard, we played a really good game,” Zuccarello said. “But it’s not enough. You’ve got to win hockey games, and we didn’t do it.”
ISLANDERS 4, KINGS 2 Michael Dal Colle got the tiebreaking goal as the Islanders scored three times in less than five minutes late in the third period to rally past Los Angeles at Nassau Coliseum.
Casey Cizikas, Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson also scored to help the Islanders stretch their point streak to eight games (6-0-2), though they had lost their previous two games in shootouts. They increased their lead atop the Metropolitan Division to four points over Washington and Pittsburgh.
Ryan Pulock had assists on each of the third-period goals, and Robin Lehner stopped 34 shots.
Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, Ilya Kovalchuk also scored and Dustin Brown had two assists for Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick finished with 28 saves.
The Kings took a 2-1 lead with 6:45 left in the third as Brown’s shot from the slot deflected off Kovalchuk’s skate and through Lehner’s legs. Barzal tied it 31 seconds later as he scored from the right side off a pass from Pulock.
Dal Colle then put the Islanders ahead when he deflected Pulock’s point shot past Quick with 2:23 left for his second N.H.L. goal. Nelson’s empty-netter 52 seconds later sealed the win for the Islanders, who improved to 8-0-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season.
DEVILS 3, CANADIENS 2 Nico Hischier wore the alternate captain’s “A” on his jersey for the first time in his career. He then showed why is fast becoming a leader for the Devils.
The 20-year-old Hischier, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, scored at 1:56 of overtime in a victory at Montreal. He had tied the game at 11:26 of the third period, getting his stick on a loose puck in the slot.
Will Butcher also scored, and Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 37 shots for the Devils, who won for the second time in six games.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Phillip Danault scored for Montreal, playing its first game in 10 days. Antti Niemi made 24 saves, with the regular starter, Carey Price, serving a one-game suspension for declining an invitation to the All-Star Game. The Canadiens had won five of their previous six games.
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