The New York Rangers ran into one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, even without Steven Stamkos, shut out the Blueshirts 5-0 on Monday night. Veteran Martin St. Louis and his two goals led the way as the Bolts snapped a two-game winning streak for the Rangers, and goaltender Ben Bishop collected his second shutout performance of the season.
The Rangers went 0-for-6 on the power play and Henrik Lundqvist was pulled as the Blueshirts’ fell back to .500 at 12-12-0 with their fifth shutout loss of the season.
Power outage: The Rangers were blanked on all six power-play opportunities Monday night, including 1:O2 of five-on-three time during the second period. Sound familiar? Rick Nash was a force in drawing three penalties, but the Rangers couldn’t cash in with the man advantage. The Rangers also came up short on all three man-up chances in Saturday’s 3-2 win against the Predators.
Lundqvist pulled: Starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was given the hook for the second time this season when he was replaced by backup Cam Talbot to start the third period. Lundqvist gave up four goals on 22 shots through the first 40 minutes of play, prompting coach Alain Vigneault to send in Talbot, who entered the game coming off the heels of his second straight shutout performance Saturday night in Nashville.
Optimistic outlook: For the first time since suffering a harrowing leg injury Nov. 11, Steven Stamkos addressed the media. The most miraculous element? The 23-year-old center has already shed his crutches, leaving many to hope and speculate that he may be available to Team Canada when the 2014 Sochi Olympics begin in February.
On the mend: Rangers forward Taylor Pyatt (concussion) rejoined practice prior to Monday’s game, according to multiple reports. Although there is no timetable for the veteran winger’s return, he is believed to be making progress.