The kid went toe-to-toe with the King on Saturday, and he came out on top.
Rookie goaltender Cedrick Desjardins stopped 34 shots to earn a 2-1 overtime victory, beating the New York Rangers and "King'' Henrik Lundqvist in front of a an announced crowd of 18,242 at the St. Pete Times Forum. The victory keeps the Lightning in first place in the Southeast Division before they head to Washington for a Tuesday showdown with the Capitals.
Nate Thompson scored the winner 17 seconds into overtime, putting in a cross-crease pass from Dana Tyrell after the Rangers got the tying goal from Marian Gaborik with 45.6 seconds left in regulation time.
Desjardins has won consecutive games to start his NHL career, stopping 61 of 63 shots, and he had a shutout streak of 119 minutes, 11 seconds between goals.
But just as Desjardins was making a case to earn more time in net for a team that has struggled in goal this season with Dan Ellis and Mike Smith, the Lightning went out and acquired veteran Dwayne Roloson from the New York Islanders in exchange for minor-league defenseman Ty Wishart.
Roloson, 41, has been a steady presence for an Islanders team that has been at the bottom of the standings for most of the season. Roloson, who helped the Edmonton Oilers to the 2006 Stanley Cup final, has a 6-13-1 record but he has a 2.64 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in his 20 games for New York this season.
The acquisition, however, didn't take any of the luster off the start for Desjardins, who was strong in his second career start, making many key saves throughout a tight contest.
Tyrell gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead 13:03 into the game, flubbing a shot on a 2-on-1 break but fooling Lundqvist as the puck squirted through his legs for Tyrell's fourth goal of the season.
From there, it was a goaltending duel, particularly in the second period, when Desjardins stopped all the shots he faced and looked to be well on his way to his first career shutout until the final minute. Marty St. Louis fumbled a clearing attempt near the bottom of the left circle, and the puck wound up on the stick of Dan Girardi, who zipped a pass into the slot to an open Gaborik, who quickly put the tying goal into the net.
"I probably have to challenge that guy a little bit, he's there by himself, and I could have done something different there, for sure,'' Desjardins said. "But there were a couple of bad bounces right before that happened, and that's just the way it goes sometimes. But we found a way to win it in overtime and that's the main point, find a way to win that extra point even if there is a bad bounce in a game like that.''
The winning goal came off the opening faceoff, as Thompson won the puck back, Mike Lundin sent the puck up along the left boards to Tyrell, who raced to collect it and found a way to put the puck through the crease to a waiting Thompson, who put his stick in the right place.
"Dana was flying, so I just went to the far post hoping that pass would find a way through and it did,'' Thompson said. "It did and then I just tried to hit it as hard as I could.''
Tribune's 3 stars
1. Lightning G Cedrick Desjardins — Stopped 34 shots for consecutive victories in his first two starts
2. Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist — Hard-luck loss after stopping 32 shots
3. Lightning C Nate Thompson — Scored the winner and set up another