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Rangers Unleash Offensive Explosion

Saying the New York Rangers are red-hot offensively would be an understatement.

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  • Kevin Stevens had three goals and two assists and Ulf Samuelsson scored twice as the Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 10-2 Tuesday night.

    The Rangers entered the game as the NHL's lowest-scoring team with 24 goals. After scoring 18 goals in their first 12 games, the Rangers have erupted for 16 in their last two.

    "It's fun scoring goals -- but winning is the biggest thing," Stevens said "It's good to get on the board and it's good to win the way we won tonight."

    The Rangers last scored 10 goals in a game on Dec. 13, 1992, in a 10-5 victory over Montreal. The Lightning allowed 10 goals at home for the first time in franchise history.

    "I guess it is the best game we've played all year," Rangers coach John Muckler said. "We forechecked awful well -- all phases of our game were good."

    Stevens completed his first hat trick since Jan. 11, 1994, and the 11th of his career with 5:16 left to play. He recorded five points in a game for the first time since Oct. 17, 1992.

    "Tonight we played a little more aggressive and forced the defense to make plays," Stevens said. "We forced some turnovers, make some plays and put the puck behind them."

    Daymond Langkow and Enrico Ciccone, who scored his first goal since Feb. 6, 1997, were the only scorers for Tampa Bay.

    "We have a team of a limited talent that has to play hard and be focused on what they do," Lightning coach Jacques Demers said. "We didn't play with thse guys."

    Lightning center Benoit Hogue, playing in first game since rejoining the team following his sister's funeral, assisted on Langkow's first-period power-play goal.

    Stevens and Manny Malhotra scored 15 seconds apart during a four-goal first period. Stevens, who added his second goal 25 seconds into the second period, broke a 1-1 tie on a backhand rebound during a power play at 13:35.

    Graves and Ciccone
    Lightning defenseman Enrico Ciccone punches left winger Adam Graves in a first-period fight. (AP)

    Stevens then set up Malhotra's goal from the slot at 13:50 after stealing the puck along the left-wing boards.

    Samuelsson, who scored his second goal during a three-goal second period, opened the scoring at 2:06 of the first period. John MacLean added a goal at 18:36.

    Marc Savard, who has six points in two games since being recalled from Hartford of the AHL on Nov. 5, added a goal and an assist. Savard's two-game point total matched the six points he collected in his first 28 NHL games.

    Brian Leetch and Todd Harvey, who recorded his team-best sixth goal, had three assists apiece.

    New York snapped a seven-game streak at Tampa Bay (0-6-1) and won for the first time on the road this season after an 0-2-3 start.

    The loss broke a five-game home unbeaten streak for the Lightning (4-0-1).

    Tampa Bay right wing Mikael Renberg broke his left thumb and will be sidelined at least three weeks. Renberg is scheduled to see a hand specialist on Wednesday.

    The Lightning will be missing two other regular forwards during an upcoming two-game road trip. Demers said Stephane Richer, who is recovering from an ankle injury, and Rob Zamuner (groin strain) will not play in games at Colorado (Friday) and Phoenix (Saturday).

    © 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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