Michael Grabner became the first Ranger to score a hat trick this season, and the Blueshirts coasted to a surprisingly lopsided 6-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night at The Garden. Antti Raanta made 31 saves and notched his 2nd win of the season in as many appearances.
Rick Nash, Jimmy Vesey, and J.T. Miller had the other New York goals.
After a scoreless 1st period, the Rangers exploded for three goals in a 2:19 span early in the 2nd period. Nash beat Ben Bishop on a breakaway to make it 1-0 New York 4:45 into the period. Grabner scored his first goal of the game at 6:42, finishing off a display of nice passing by the Rangers. Hayes passed to Brady Skjei, who passed to Grabner, who scored to make it 2-0.
22 seconds later, Vesey, on a pass from Nash, made it 3-0 at 7:04. And later in the 2nd period, Miller scored his 3rd goal of the season, at 18:10, to make it 4-0 New York.
In the 3rd period, Grabner scored twice, at 9:02 and at 14:47. Grabner now has five goals on the season, tied with Vesey for tops on the Rangers.
Steven Stamkos scored Tampa Bay’s only goal, trickling a shot past Raanta at 16:36.
Miller finished with a goal and two assists, while Kevin Hayes had three assists on the night. And Ryan McDonagh had an assist, to extend his streak of games with an assist to seven games.
The Rangers [now 6-3-0, 12 pts] host the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night at The Garden.