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Rangers spoil Igor Shesterkin’s valiant effort in 2-1 shootout loss to Lightning

Rangers fall to Tampa in a shootout.
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a sliding save as defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) keeps Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Corey Perry (10) from a rebound during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
AP Photos

The New York Rangers may have dropped three of their last four games, but they’ve certainly gotten the most out of their recent slide.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 45 saves through overtime, Alex Killorn scored the winner in the sixth round of the shootout, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Rangers 2-1 on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay won the shootout 2-1. Brayden Point scored in regulation and the shootout for the Lightning. Nikita Kucherov got his 38th assist on Point’s goal. Igor Shesterkin stopped 39 shots in regulation and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers. Shesterkin is 4-0-1 in five games against Tampa Bay.

Point tied it at 1 on his 20th goal at 5:32 of the third. His shot from close range off a pass from Steven Stamkos went off Shesterkin’s pad and into the net. The center has 14 goals in the last 15 games.

Zibanejad got his ninth goal in nine games against Vasilevskiy to open the scoring from the high slot 14:25 into the game.

Vasilevskiy made a couple of strong saves in overtime as Tampa Bay killed off Victor Hedman’s tripping penalty. Shesterkin stopped Stamkos’ right-circle shot late in the session.

Tampa Bay’s Brandon Hagel had a potential game-tying goal disallowed at 4:49 of the second. The left-wing grabbed the puck off Shesterkin’s blocker with his glove and threw the puck toward the net. It was ruled an illegal hand pass.

Shesterkin stopped five shots by Nikita Kucherov and a low slot drive by Stamkos in the first. He rejected three more shots by Kucherov in the second period.

Stamkos hit the crossbar early in the third and remains three goals away from becoming the 47th NHL player to reach the 500 mark. The Lightning captain has gone six straight games without a goal.

Vasilevskiy turned aside breakaway shots by Vincent Trocheck and Vitali Kravtsov, and skated into the slot to clear the puck to prevent a Rangers’ short-handed 2-on-none during the opening period.

It was a rare start on consecutive games for Vasilevskiy, who beat Montreal 4-1 on Wednesday night. It was the fourth time, including playoffs, that he has appeared in back-to-back games since the 2020 playoffs.

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