For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was a miserable game. “We’re looking to make a perfect play,” Tampa Bay’s coach Barry Melrose told the press after the game. “And the New York Rangers don’t look to make a perfect play. We don’t compete. Until that changes, we’re going to have trouble.”
For the second straight regular season game in Prague, the Lightning dropped another opportunity to gain two points this season. “[It] don’t mean nothing unless you work hard,” Coach Melrose said of his team’s failure.
“Gratton’s line is the best line by far. I hope our guys are embarrassed by that last period. We need to get our greater players playing better than our lesser players.”
As far as his thoughts on Vincent Lecavalier’s performance in Sunday’s night game, “There’s a pretty big bus that he wasn’t proud to be on.” There is a mirror in their locker room that says, ‘Are you proud of the person in the mirror?’ That motto should be a measure for their play and frankly, Melrose was not proud of his team. He further went on to say that the first line could learn from the fourth line. They definitely earned their paycheck and by far get paid way less then what they deserved.
Gratton’s line scored the lone goal for Tampa Bay. That goal had Adam Hall’s number written all over it. He tallied the first goal of the game 18:18 into the first period (Hall’s number is 18). By the end of the first period, Tampa Bay had only registered four shots on goal to the Rangers’ 15.
But like Saturday night’s game, the Rangers were able to capitalize on the man advantage with a power play goal from Wade Redden (his first of the season) at 3:48. Gomez followed with the Rangers’ second goal of the night at 12:13. Both Redden and Gomez registered a goal and an assist in the final exhibition game in Prague.
For the Rangers, these exhibition games ended up being a great experience for the team. “It’s hard to predict the outcome,” Henrik Lundqvist told reporters. “We worked harder than we have before. We were the better team in both games. This was a perfect start for us and for us to get together as a group. It’s pretty tough to play perfect right away.”
“We’ll enjoy the win tonight,” coach Tom Renney told the press after the game. “We’ll get ourselves home and then we’ll go over the video at home.”
The Prague Experience
The Rangers enjoyed their time in Prague immensely. “Fans know the game,” Scott Gomez said of the trip to Prague. “The fans were great and were passionate…and they know their hockey.”
“I felt that it was motivational,” Renney said of the fans during Game 2. “I think the guys felt [the intensity] from the bench.”
Martin Straka made an appearance in the Rangers’ locker room after the game. Renney ran into him in the hallway and thanked him for all the great hard work he put in for the Rangers during his tenure as a Blueshirt.
The Rangers head home and will have a day off to recuperate from the trip before facing the Chicago Blackhawks in their first home game of the season on Friday, October 10th. Scott Gomez informed us that his mother will be in attendance.