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Coming off an emotional loss that knocked them out of first place Brandon LaFell Jersey , the Tampa Bay Lightning took a little while to get going against the New York Rangers.
They eventually found their stride.
Brayden Point and Cedric Paquette each scored two goals, and Tampa Bay stopped a three-game slide with a 7-3 victory Friday night.
J.T. Miller contributed a power-play goal in the third period as the Lightning regained first place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern
Conference with 108 points. Dan Girardi also scored against his former team,
Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist, and backup goalie Louis Domingue made 28
”We got better as the game went along,” star forward Steven Stamkos said. ”We wanted to get the two points and we got it and we’ll continue to move on.”
The Lightning fell from the top spot for the first time since mid-October when they lost to the Bruins on Thursday night. They scored a total of four
goals during their losing streak.
”It was a tough first for us, just to get our legs back, but I like the way we responded in the second and third and the guys did what they had to do,”
coach Jon Cooper said.
Leading 2-1 entering the third period, Miller, Paquette and Point scored in the first 2:38 to blow the game open.
Miller jammed in a rebound of Victor Hedman’s shot from the point 35 seconds into the period. Hedman finished with two assists.
”It felt nice,” Miller said of scoring against his former team. ”It was hard with a lot of emotions and thoughts coming into this game. You just want to go
out and play your game and luckily, got one to come on my stick in front of the
Paquette added his second of the game when he took a pass from Cory Conacher and sent his shot off the post and into the net. Point finished the run 45
seconds later when he scored his 29th of the season on a 3-on-1 break.
Point added his second of the game on an empty-netter, and Girardi scored a power-play goal in the final minute.
New York rookie Filip Chytil got his first NHL goal. Chris Kreider and Brady Skjei also scored for the Rangers Allen Hurns Jersey , and Ondrej Pavelec made 43 saves.
Tampa Bay’s only visit to Madison Square Garden this season came in the Rangers’ home finale.
Before the game, the Rangers played a video tribute honoring Ryan McDonagh, Girardi and Miller. McDonagh, a former captain, spent parts of eight seasons
with the Rangers before being traded at the February deadline with Miller.
Girardi played nearly 800 games with the Rangers over parts of 11 years.
”A month ago, I didn’t expect to have to play this game,” Miller said. ”You try to keep it together during the game as much as possible.
”A lot of good friends there on the other side so you try to keep it serious and professional during the game. It was a cool experience what they did for me
The Rangers opened the scoring in the first period when defenseman Skjei wristed a shot from the top of the right circle past Domingue at 14:59 for his
fourth of the season.
Paquette tied it for the Lightning early in the second. Mikhail Sergachev took a shot from the point and Paquette poked in the loose puck for his fourth
goal at 3:15.
Just 1:18 later, Killorn gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead with his 15th goal. Anthony Cirelli sent a pass to Killorn in the slot. Killorn sent it on net and
knocked in his own rebound.
Domingue preserved the lead when he made a sliding pad save on Kreider on a Rangers power play midway through the period.
Chytil scored when he knocked in Mats Zuccarello’s shot that banked off the end boards at 8:14 of the third.
”Zukey shoots and it was a rebound and empty net, so I’m excited I scored my first goal finally,” Chytil said.
Stamkos and Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich had an unexpected fight after the first period after Buchnevich tripped Nikita Kucherov. Buchnevich got a
minor for tripping and a fighting major. Stamkos got an instigating minor,
fighting major and a 10-minute misconduct.
”Stuff happens in the game and I thought Kuch got clipped and just responding,” Stamkos said.
NOTES: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist won the 30th annual Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. The award is presented to the Ranger who ”goes above and beyond
the call of duty” as chosen by fans. The award, given annually since the 1987-88
season Briean Boddy-Calhoun Jersey , is named after New York City Police Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July
12, 1986, and died on Jan. 10, 2017. … The Rangers finished 21-16-4 at home this
Lightning: Host Nashville on Sunday.
Rangers: Travel to Carolina to face the Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Mo Bamba is fully convinced that he’s ready for the NBA.
He also believes that was the case a year ago.
If Bamba – the massive Texas center who will likely be taking his 7-foot-10 wingspan to a lottery team at the NBA draft next month – was a high school
senior in 2020, he probably would have bypassed college and made the jump
straight to the league. The expectation around the NBA is that will be the year
where so-called ”one-and-done” rule will come off the books and players will no
longer have to wait a season before going to the pro ranks.
So Bamba went to college and waited his turn, though he’s not sure it was needed.
”I thought about it a lot,” Bamba said. ”It’s an area I probably would have explored.”
Out of the 30 first-round picks that will be made at the draft, it’s entirely possible that as many as 25 will have played no more than one season of college
basketball. Some didn’t even play in college – there are a couple of European
players likely to be first-rounders, and intriguing combo guard Anfernee Simons
did a year of postgraduate work at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Simons tested off the charts at the draft combine this week, with a 41 1/2-inch vertical. He’s a former Louisville commit, who decided to hold off on
college after the scandal that ultimately led to the dismissal of coach Rick
”I’ve just been working hard on all aspects of my game Brendan Langley Jersey , trying to get better every day,” Simons said.
The NBA makes no secret of the fact that one-and-done doesn’t work ideally for any party involved – the pro ones or the college ones. The league has talked
about making 20 the minimum age where a player can enter the NBA; the players’
union has said it would prefer it going back to 18. And now with the college
game on the cusp of massive changes amid an ongoing federal investigation, it
seems quite likely that the one-and-done policy will be scrubbed soon.
Bamba’s reaction to that: About time.
”It’s only right by the athletes,” Bamba said. ”Some kids have lifelong dreams of wanting to play in the NBA. Not manipulating, but changing the rules
so we have more of an option as players is what’s most beneficial to us.”
There were 38 freshmen who applied to be early entry candidates in this draft. Some will go back to college, but the majority of those should get
Some guys simply needed the year.
Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played his way onto NBA draft boards and decided to leave after one season, with Wildcats coach John Calipari raving
about how hard he worked and how much better he got in his one college
And Duke’s Trevon Duval, who had 207 assists in his lone college year, isn’t exactly sure that he was ready to go pro out of high school either.
”My whole thought process and training process would have been a little bit different if the rule was in effect,” Duval said. ”I think it’s a good rule.
There are definitely kids who can go straight from college to the NBA.”
Sometimes, the perceived one-and-dones get to college and realize they’re not ready.
Miami guard Bruce Brown Jr. came to the Hurricanes with that one-and-done label. He wound up staying for two seasons, and knows that was the better move
for his development. Same goes for Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, who insists
he’s better for having stayed.
”I’m more ready now Kyle Williams Jersey ,” Bridges said.
In his interviews with teams this week at the combine, Bridges was often asked about why he didn’t come out as a freshman. His sense was that they liked
his answer.
”They were kind of impressed with that,” Bridges said. ”So, me staying was a good thing. I stayed so I could mature and they respect that about me.”
Bamba sees a similar payoff in himself as well.
As much as he would have liked to be in the NBA already, he’s not resentful about having to wait. And he does concede that the college experience made him
better than he was when he exited high school.
”I got everything I wanted out of Texas,” Bamba said. ”Obviously, you’d love to win more. You’d love to win a national championship and compete at that
level. But as far as relationships and development, I couldn’t be happier.”

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