TAMPA, Fla. -- Brandon Prust started New York's four-goal first period, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as the Rangers routed the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0 on Friday night.
The Rangers moved ahead of Atlanta and into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Philadelphia and Boston at the postseason cutoff. New York has five games remaining, the same amount as Boston and one more than Philadelphia.
Prust scored 3:09 in, Marc Staal doubled the lead 25 seconds later, Vinny Prospal added a goal, and Brandon Dubinsky pushed the lead to 4-0 with a power-play tally before 15 minutes had elapsed. Aaron Voros finished the scoring late in the third period.
The Rangers have gone 4-0-1 in their past five to get back into the thick of the playoff race.
Prust started the onslaught with his third goal of the season, beating goalie Mike Smith between the pads. Staal made it 2-0 with his seventh, scoring at 3:34.
Prospal added his 19th goal when his pass through the crease deflected in off the skate of Lightning defenseman Vladimir Mihalik. The Rangers benefited from another fortunate bounce when Dubinsky's shot deflected through Smith and caromed in off Kurtis Foster's skate.
Smith, who made just three saves on seven shots, was replaced at the start of the second period by Antero Niittymaki.
The Lightning had chances to cut into their deficit when they had a long 5-on-3 advantage early in the second. However, the Rangers limited Tampa Bay to just one shot and killed off the penalties to Jody Shelley (holding) and Dubinsky (delay of game). The Lightning were 0-for-4 overall on power plays.
Niittymaki made 14 saves in his two periods of action.
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