for this game

Gratton scores twice, Lightning hold on to end slide

Jan 9, 2008 - 4:34 AM
By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- The Tampa Bay Lightning had gone over two weeks without a win. For Chris Gratton, his wait for points was somewhat longer.

Gratton scored twice and recorded a season-high three points as the Lightning held on for a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday and snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Defenseman Doug Janik scored the first goal of the season and Vaclav Prospal netted what proved to be the game-winner midway through second period. The Lightning were cruising after Prospal's goal, but rookie goaltender Karri Ramo gave up power-play tallies by Scott Gomez with 96 seconds remaining in the middle session and defenseman Michal Rozsival 4:22 into the third.

"We are struggling a lot in the third," Ramo said. "So it's a huge thing for us. Now it brings a lot of confidence. We've been talking a lot about our third periods and what we need to do different, and now we finally started to do those things."

The Lightning held on, however, to pick up their first victory since December 20 despite almost squandering a 4-1 lead. They gave the Rangers a four-minute power play when Craig MacDonald was called for high-sticking, and Rozsival scored to make it a one-goal game.

"We found a way to win," said Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella, whose team has been outscored, 60-39, in the third period this season. "We just have so much work to do as far as understanding situations and just having some common sense. But Ramo was tremendous. I thought six or seven guys really carried the team. We found a way to win."

"It's a start," Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger added. "In the last 10 or 12 games when we've had a lead or been tied going into the third, (we've collapsed). But tonight was pretty good."

Tampa Bay also had to kill an 84-second 5-on-3 disadvantage when Gratton was whistled for tripping and the team was called for having too many men on the ice with 10:02 remaining. Ramo made a glove save on Jaromir Jagr during that power play and preserved the lead when he fell back to stop a shot by defenseman Dan Girardi with just over four minutes remaining.

"It seems lately, we've been finding ways to put teams back in the game," Gratton said. "We did the same thing in Ottawa the other night. Whether it be a defensive breakdown or just bad penalties at bad times, unfortunately we seem to be doing that right now. But our goalie kind of saved our bacon."

Before the near-collapse, the game belonged to Gratton, who helped end a skid that had seen the Lightning get outscored, 30-16, and fall into last place in the Eastern Conference.

Gratton's struggles to get on the scoresheet had mirrored his team's run of futility. He was a minus-7 during the skid, which started after he sat out three games as a healthy scratch.

Gratton also had not recorded a point in his previous nine games, but that changed when he set up Janik's first goal since February 1 at 5:50 of the first period. The 32-year-old center also had not scored in his prior 12 contests, but that drought ended when he finished off a slick pass by former Ranger Jason Ward less than three minutes after Janik tied the contest.

That gave Gratton just his third multi-point game of the season and first since October 20. He completed his second two-goal effort of the campaign and first three-point game since February 24 just 4:23 into the second period.

"It's been a frustrating time, no question," Gratton said. "You always want to contribute. I have to start finding ways, but tonight's a good start and it's been a difficult year. I got off to a good start, I had a bit of injury trouble, but hopefully the second half will be different."

"We got some play out of some people we need to get play out of more consistently," Tortorella said. "That was important. We find a line that played really well together in Gratton, (Jan) Hlavac and Ward, so that was really important."

Gratton's big night also ended another negative streak for Tampa Bay. It halted a five-game road skid (0-3-2) and gave the Lightning just their fourth road victory this season and first since December 13.

Jagr scored 3:02 into the contest and Scott Gomez had a power-play goal late in the second for the Rangers, who tied a season high with their fourth straight loss. New York played without Sean Avery (right hand contusion) and Martin Straka (concussion) as it fell to 5-8-3 in its last 16.

"We have to come out better," said Gomez, who has recorded a point in 15 of his last 16 games. "Not only for ourselves, but for the fans. I think everyone who left this dressing room going into the third period really believed, but we just came up short. We have to put a game together. We can't put 60 minutes together right now, and it's hurting us."

"We have to deal with it," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "It is what it is. Nobody else has created it but us."

Jagr opened the scoring by capitalizing on a mistake by Ramo, who misplayed defenseman Fedor Tyutin's dump-in off the end boards. Marcel Hossa forced the miscue and, before Ramo could return to the crease, dished it to Jagr, who tapped it into a vacant net for his 12th goal.

After that, it was mistakes by New York that led to goals.

Janik scored when his slap shot from the right point deflected off Tyutin's stick and past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Less than three minutes later, Tampa Bay took the lead as Gratton helped start the play. He headed toward Girardi behind the net, and the defenseman overskated the puck, allowing Tampa Bay to gain possession.

After giving the loose puck to Hlavac, who made a nice backhand pass through the slot to Ward, Gratton headed for the net. When he got there, all he had to was tap in Ward's pass past Lundqvist, who left that side of the net vacant thinking Ward was going to shoot.

"Wardo made a heckuva pass," Gratton said. "He caught Lundqvist just looking for the shot. It was just lucky, I guess."

Gratton also went to the net for his second goal, but did so after winning a faceoff against Gomez. After the puck came to defenseman Shane O'Brien above the left circle, Gratton headed to the doorstep and got his stick on the shot, which went over Lundqvist's right shoulder.

Prospal made it a three-goal bulge after Martin St. Louis stripped Gomez of the puck near the blue line. The Lightning cashed in on the miscue when Prospal fired a wrister from the left faceoff dot past Lundqvist at 10:51 for his 19th goal.

Gomez generated some life into the crowd when he scored his 10th goal with 1:36 remaining, and the Rangers capitalized on McDonald's penalty when Rozsival converted Chris Drury's centering feed for his career-high 11th tally.

The Rangers had several chances to tie it, but Paul Mara had a shot go off the goalpost, fellow defenseman Marc Staal had a shot trickle through the crease and Gomez failed to finish off a breakaway with just under five minutes remaining.

"You have to be disappointed after every loss," Drury said. "Certainly, the way we played in the third period is something to build on. The frustrating part is, we're just not consistent enough."

St. Louis sealed Tampa Bay's second win in 12 games with his 200th career goal, tallying into an empty net with three seconds to go.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 2 1 5
    NY RANGERS 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - JAROMIR JAGR 12 (MARCEL HOSSA) 3:02
    TAM - DOUG JANIK 1 (BRAD LUKOWICH, CHRIS GRATTON) 5:50
    TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 5 (JASON WARD, JAN HLAVAC) 8:24
    2ND PRD: TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 6 (SHANE O'BRIEN) 4:23
    TAM - VACLAV PRO

    Jan 8 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 5
    NY RANGERS 3
    3RD PRD: TAM - (EN) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 17 (VINCENT LECAVALIER) 19:57

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 9:32 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 9:07 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    NY RANGERS 3
    3RD PRD: NYR - (PP) MICHAL ROZSIVAL 11 (CHRIS DRURY, PAUL MARA) 4:22

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 9:03 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 2 4
    NY RANGERS 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - JAROMIR JAGR 12 (MARCEL HOSSA) 3:02
    TAM - DOUG JANIK 1 (BRAD LUKOWICH, CHRIS GRATTON) 5:50
    TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 5 (JASON WARD, JAN HLAVAC) 8:24
    2ND PRD: TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 6 (SHANE O'BRIEN) 4:23
    TAM

    Jan 8 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    NY RANGERS 2
    2ND PRD: NYR - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 10 (MICHAL ROZSIVAL, PAUL MARA) 18:24

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 19 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS) 10:51

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 8:21 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 3
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 6 (SHANE O'BRIEN) 4:23

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 8:07 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 2
    NY RANGERS 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - JAROMIR JAGR 12 (MARCEL HOSSA) 3:02
    TAM - DOUG JANIK 1 (BRAD LUKOWICH, CHRIS GRATTON) 5:50
    TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 5 (JASON WARD, JAN HLAVAC) 8:24
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --

    Jan 8 7:40 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - CHRIS GRATTON 5 (JASON WARD, JAN HLAVAC) 8:24

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 7:21 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - DOUG JANIK 1 (BRAD LUKOWICH, CHRIS GRATTON) 5:50

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 7:18 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 0
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - JAROMIR JAGR 12 (MARCEL HOSSA) 3:02

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 7:14 PM
  • 5
    roots
    metsfan31 Added 5 roots

    Lightning vs. RangersJan 8 7:49 AM