Panarin has hat trick, Shesterkin makes 34 saves as Rangers beat Lightning
The Rangers are the first team to reach 50 points for the first time since winning their last Stanley Cup in 1993-94. New York, which lost 4-3 at Florida on Friday night, is 6-0 in the second of back-to-back games this season.
“Overall, pretty gutsy effort out of us in a pretty tough back-to-back” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said.
The Lightning's 39 points through 37 games is one behind their total after the same number of games in 2016-17, which was the last time they missed the playoffs.
Tampa Bay has 80 shot attempts, compared to the Rangers' 37.
“The pucks we threw at the net, the chances we had, for us to only get one, that's tough,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “Those are the things we've just got to keep doing.”
Panarin had two third-period goals, including one on a power play to complete his sixth hat trick and give him 23 this season. He entered with two goals in 17 previous games against Tampa Bay.
“It seems like he somehow continues to get better,” Trocheck said. “And he's taking more and more steps forward, which is kind of crazy to think. He's obviously an outstanding hockey player, one of the best in the league.”
Panarin's career high is 32 goals, set in 2019-20.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos played in his 1,037th game to tie Vincent Lecavalier’s team record for most games and had an assist.
Shesterkin turned aside Stamkos' slot shot in the second and Victor Hedman's in-close third-period chance. He is 6-0-1 against Tampa Bay.
Panarin scored 1:51 into the game off a pass from Trocheck during a 2-on-none that came about when Hedman fell going for the puck at the defensive blue line.
Trocheck made it 2-0 at 7:36 of the first when he poked home a loose puck in the crease.
After Kucherov had a power-play goal late in the second, Kreider reinstated the two-goal lead to complete a 2-on-1 just 51 seconds later. Kreider has a point in six straight games.
Rangers: Host Carolina on Tuesday night.
Lightning: Play Sunday night at home against Montreal.
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