NEW YORK (AP)Mika Zibanejad scored twice, including a tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period, and the New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 in the season opener on Tuesday night.
Barclay Goodrow also scored and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin stopped 26 shots to help the Rangers start the new season with a win against the Lightning team that eliminated them from Eastern Conference final in June.
Steven Stamkos had a power-play goal for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy had 36 saves.
Zibanejad, who scored a short-handed goal early in the second period, gave the Rangers the 2-1 lead at 5:11 of the third with a slap shot from the left circle off a pass from Artemi Panarin. It gave Panarin, beginning his fourth season in New York, 250 points with the Rangers.
Goodrow made it 3-1 as he deflected Ryan Lindren’s long shot from the left point past Vasilevskiy with 9 minutes remaining.
The Rangers outshot the Lightning 14-8 in a scoreless first period, and 18-8 in the second.
The Lightning, tops in the NHL with 291 power-play goals over the last five seasons, got their first man advantage of the game early in the second period. However, seconds after Vasilevskiy stopped two short-handed slap shots by Chris Kreider, Zibanejad skated in from the right side, got around the goalie’s poke check and lifted a backhander into the top left corner at 3:25 to put the Rangers up 1-0.
Tampa Bay had a 5-on-3 advantage for 2 minutes when K’Andre Miller (tripping) and Goodrow (elbowing) were whistled for penalties with about 12 minutes remaining in the middle period. The Lightning took advantage as Stamkos fired one-timer from center point off a pass from Nikita Kucherov to tie it at 9:09.
The Rangers were on the power play later in the period when Vasilevskiy was out of position and Kreider had an open net on the left side but defenseman Mikhail Sergachev skated over and stopped Kreider’s chance with his stick with 6 minutes to go. Vasilevskiy then slid over and denied Kreider’s attempt on the follow.
Vasilevskiy stopped a shot by Barclay Goodrow with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the first. At the other end, Shesterkin stoned a driving attempt from Nick Paul from the right side 20 seconds later, and then denied the follow-up from Brandon Hagel.
Vasilevskiy also turned aside two attempts in close by Jacob Trouba with about 6:45 left, and then made a right pad save to deny Chris Kreider’s deflection from the left doorstep on a Rangers power play with 2:40 remaining.
The Rangers improved to 13-12-5 when opening the season at home. The Lightning fell to 4-5-0 when beginning the season on the road.
The Rangers named Kreider, Zibanejad, Panarin and Goodrow as alternate captains. All four served in the same role last season, along with Ryan Strome and Jacob Trouba. Strome signed with Anaheim as a free agent in the offseason, and Trouba was elevated to captain.
The Lightning were without D Zach Bogosian and C Anthony Cirelli, both recovering from surgeries. They were also missing D Ian Cole, who was suspended pending an investigation into allegations made on social media that he sexually abused a woman when she was a minor.
Rangers RW Vitali Kravtsov went to the dressing room midway through the first period after being knocked down and into the boards by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. The Rangers announced early in the second period he would not return to the game due to an upper body injury.
The Rangers won all three meetings in the regular season last year, and then won the first two games in Eastern Conference final. The Lightning then trailed 2-0 in Game 3 before rallying to win four straight games to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the third straight year.
Lightning: At Columbus on Friday night to continue a three-game trip.
Rangers: At Minnesota on Thursday night to open a two-game trip.
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