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Lightning Tie Up Rangers


The New York Rangers once again failed to capitalize against weak competition.

Vincent Lecavalier scored with 82 seconds left in the third period Tuesday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning earned a 2-2 tie with the Rangers.

New York picked up just one of four possible points over the past three days against two of the NHL's three worst teams. The Rangers dropped a 4-2 decision Sunday to the New York Islanders.

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  • "We're in no position to be letting points slip away," Rangers forward Adam Graves said. "Unfortunately, we let three points slip away."

    The tie moved the Rangers into a seventh-place tie with idle Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference. Carolina is four points behind in ninth place.

    "I thought it was a hard fought game," said New York coach John Muckler, who called his team complacent following the loss to the Islanders.

    Brian Leetch became New York's career goal-scoring leader among defenseman when his third goal this season gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead midway through the third period.

    Leetch's 180th goal, which moved him past Ron Greschner, came in his fourth outing after missing 32 games with a fractured right forearm. The New York captain was injured at Tampa Bay on Nov. 24 when he blocked a shot by the Lightning's Fredrik Modin.

    "I think it would have made it special if it had been the game-winner," Leetch said. "It's a disappointing way to end that game."

    Leetch, whose last goal came on Nov. 3, put home a rebound of Petr Nedved's shot from the right circle on the power-play.

    Lecavalier stuffed a rebound of Stan Drulia's shot past goalie Kirk McLean. The Lightning center has two goals and five points in three games.

    "Now we know we can come back in a game," Lecavalier said. "It was a really exciting game for both teams. We worked hard and played with a lot of passion."

    The Lightning snapped a five-game losing streak, but have just two wins (2-22-3) in 27 games.

    In an exciting overtime, the teams combined for 10 shots during end-to-end action.

    Nedved had a power-play goal as the teams traded first-period scores. He put the Rangers up 1-0 on a breakaway six minutes in.

    Nedved had the puck knocked off his stick from behind by Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina, but the Rangers center poked the loose puck off goalie Dan Cloutier's stick and into the net.

    Tampa Bay, which had shots by Nils Ekman and Modin hit the post, got the equalizer from Todd Warriner with just 1.3 seconds left in the period.

    Cloutier, pulled in the second period of Tampa Bay's 5-2 loss Saturday to Carolina, robbed Theoren Fleury twice from point-blank range in the second period.

    Fleury broke his stick on the ice after his second quality chance with two minutes remaining in the frame.

    Cloutier finished with 26 saves. New York's Kirk McLean turned aside 30 shots.

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