Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/2/13
TAMPA -- It took a backup goaltender, of all things, to finally slow down the Tampa Bay Lightning and to settle down the New York Rangers. Martin Biron made 30 saves behind a defensive effort that left difficult-to-impress head coach John Tortorella "really happy" Saturday, and the Rangers held on for a 3-2 win that broke the Lightning's five-game win streak. Tampa Bay also lost for the first time in five home games. Meanwhile, the Rangers, coming off a humbling 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh, might have found their identity. "Tonight," Tortorella said, "I thought consistently we played hard." Scoring was minimal -- partly because just three penalties were called -- in a game featuring two backup goaltenders. Tampa Bay's Mathieu Garon finished with 27 saves. Biron was making his first start of the season, as 2012 Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist rested after starting his seventh game Thursday. The Lightning entered averaging 5.29 goals per game and had scored eight in a win against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. None of that mattered on Saturday. "Marty was unbelievable," said Rick Nash, who put the Rangers ahead to stay in the third period to atone for a key penalty-kill mistake that led to a Lightning goal. "That's probably the best 1-2 (goaltender) tandem in the league." Garon was sharp for the Lightning (6-2-0) until the final period, when Nash scored to break a 1-1 tie and Carl Hagelin added his first of the season. Nash gave York took a 2-1 lead with 16:56 left in regulation when he eluded defenseman Victor Hedman with the puck along the right side and curled in along the back line. It was Nash's second goal of the season, and it came on an assist from former Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards. Tampa Bay had not trailed since the 59-second mark against the Philadelphia Flyers four games and 11 periods earlier, a span of 208 minutes, 30 seconds. "I kind of saw that I had a jump, like an extra step on (Hedman), and I knew I could use my body and cut in," Nash said. "It was just a matter of waiting out Garon. His leg was stretched, and I knew if I could just wait him out a half a second longer, I could tuck it in the open space." Tortorella said he could sense Nash was becoming frustrated before Saturday night. "He's been around chances the whole time. It's nice for him to score a goal," the coach said. "That's a big-time goal at a very important time for us." Hagelin added the clincher with 5:13 to go on a break-in and quick poke through Garon's skates. Biron admitted to being "antsy." "We knew we had to play extremely well in every aspect of the game, and I think our defense tonight just came from the way we cycled the puck," he said. "It was great to see from my perspective, side to side, always first. We didn't give them much time in our zone, and all these little things added up to playing a very disciplined game." Tampa Bay, leading the league with 13 power-play goals, used its only man advantage of the game to take a 1-0 lead with 16:44 left in the second period, as Steven Stamkos found an undefended space in the slot and wristed a pass from Matt Carle. The goal was Stamkos' sixth. He added another with 21 seconds left after the Lightning pulled Garon for an extra attacker. "We had multiple chances," Stamkos said. "We had four or five 2-on-1s that were close, but we couldn't capitalize." New York (4-4-0) responded to the first Tampa Bay goal just moments after the Rangers' first power play expired, as Derek Stepan jammed in Garon's save of a Taylor Pyatt attempt with 10:10 left in the first period. Tampa Bay had a goal disallowed four minutes later when it was ruled B.J. Crombeen used a high stick. "We pushed it as much as we could," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "We gave everything we had. It was 1-1, a tight game. It was anybody's game. I just feel they capitalized on our mistakes and we did not." NOTES: With two goals, Stamkos has at least a point in all eight games this season. ... The scoreless first period was just the fourth in 21 periods for the Lightning this season. ... Tortorella and Richards, who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, were the subjects of video presentations as part of the Lightning's 20th anniversary commemoration. ... Rangers rookie Chris Kreider (ankle) missed his fifth straight game. He has participated in three straight optional skates but has yet to practice, which he expects to be a prerequisite for playing. ... Lundqvist had started seven straight in goal for the Rangers. ... Garon made his second start with Anders Lindback having started on Friday in an 8-3 win over Winnipeg.
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