Zibanejad scores 2, Rangers beat Lightning 3-1 in opener


NEW YORK (AP) — Mika Zibanejad helped the New York Rangers get the brand new season off to a successful begin.

Zibanejad scored twice, together with a tiebreaking power-play aim within the third interval, and the Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Tuesday evening.

Barclay Goodrow additionally scored and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin stopped 26 photographs to assist the Rangers begin the season with a win towards the Lightning group that eradicated them from Eastern Conference ultimate in June.

“The way we played tonight is a lot how we want to play — to trust ourselves and trust the system.,” Zibanejad mentioned. “We did a good job tonight and we have to keep doing that.”

Zibanejad, who scored a short-handed aim early within the second interval, gave New York a 2-1 lead at 5:11 of the third with a slap shot from the left circle off a cross from Artemi Panarin, who obtained his 250th level with the Rangers.

“Obviously, it’s nice to see the puck go in, not just to get the win but the way we won,” Zibanejad mentioned.

Goodrow made it 3-1 as he deflected Ryan Lindren’s lengthy shot from the left level previous Vasilevskiy with 9 minutes remaining.

Steven Stamkos had a power-play aim for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy had 36 saves.

“We competed we just didn’t execute at all, and when you’re not going to do that it doesn’t matter how hard you try,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper mentioned. “We looked frustrated in the third. … We’re a better team than we showed tonight.”

The Rangers outshot the Lightning 14-8 in a scoreless first interval, and 18-8 within the second.

“Right from the get-go, I thought we were engaged, we were on it, we were competing,” Goodrow mentioned. “I thought everyone did a good job. From the drop of the puck we were playing well. It was a full team effort tonight. It was a great first game.”

The Lightning, tops within the NHL with 291 power-play objectives over the past 5 seasons, obtained their first man benefit of the sport early within the second interval. However, seconds after Vasilevskiy stopped two short-handed slap photographs by Chris Kreider, Zibanejad skated in from the precise facet, obtained across the goalie’s poke test and lifted a backhander into the highest left nook at 3:25 to place the Rangers up 1-0.

Tampa Bay had a 5-on-3 benefit for two minutes when Okay’Andre Miller (tripping) and Goodrow (elbowing) had been whistled for penalties with about 12 minutes remaining within the center interval. The Lightning took benefit as Stamkos fired one-timer from middle level off a cross from Nikita Kucherov to tie it at 9:09.

“Special teams was the difference,” Cooper mentioned. “When you give them a short-handed goal and a power-play goal, you’re making it tough on yourself, and it ended up being the difference.”

The Rangers had been on the facility play later within the interval when Vasilevskiy was out of place and Kreider had an open web on the left facet however defenseman Mikhail Sergachev skated over and stopped Kreider’s probability along with his follow 6 minutes to go. Vasilevskiy then slid over and denied Kreider’s try on the comply with.

Vasilevskiy stopped a shot by Goodrow with just a little greater than 11 minutes remaining within the first. At the opposite finish, Shesterkin stoned a driving try from Nick Paul from the precise facet 20 seconds later, after which denied the follow-up from Brandon Hagel.

Vasilevskiy additionally turned apart two makes an attempt in shut by Jacob Trouba with about 6:45 left, after which made a proper pad save to disclaim Kreider’s deflection from the left doorstep on a Rangers energy play with 2:40 remaining.


The Rangers improved to 13-12-5 when opening the season at dwelling. The Lightning fell to 4-5-0 when starting the season on the street.


The Lightning had been with out D Zach Bogosian and C Anthony Cirelli, each recovering from surgical procedures. They had been additionally lacking D Ian Cole, who was suspended pending an investigation into allegations made on social media that he sexually abused a lady when she was a minor.

Rangers RW Vitali Kravtsov went to the dressing room halfway by means of the primary interval after being knocked down and into the boards by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. The Rangers introduced early within the second interval he wouldn’t return to the sport on account of an higher physique harm. After sport, coach Gerard Gallant mentioned Kravtsov was ‘day to day’ they usually wouldn’t know the severity of the harm unto tomorrow.


The Rangers gained all three conferences within the common season final yr, after which gained the primary two video games in Eastern Conference ultimate. The Lightning then trailed 2-0 in Game 3 earlier than rallying to win 4 straight video games to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the third straight yr.


Lightning: At Columbus on Friday evening to proceed a three-game journey.

Rangers: At Minnesota on Thursday evening to open a two-game journey.


Follow Vin Cherwoo at http://www.twitter.com/VinCherwooAP


More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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