Rangers ride big 1st period, top Lightning 4-1

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NEW YORK (AP) - Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan scored in a one-sided first period, and the suddenly healthy New York Rangers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Defenseman Marc Staal added just the eighth power-play goal of the season in the second period for New York, which ended an 0-3-1 skid in the second game of a four-game homestand and completed a three-game, season-series sweep of the Lightning.

The Rangers were bolstered by the return of top forward Rick Nash, who missed four games, and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto. New York moved one point ahead of Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Nash, who assisted on Staal's goal, finished the scoring with 1:33 remaining off a feed from Brad Richards on a rush for his fourth goal. McDonagh had two assists.

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