NHL Playoffs: Lightning one win from third straight Final, beat Rangers 3-1
The NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Final has seen a complete momentum shift since Game 2 as the Tampa Bay Lightning have rattled off three straight wins.
By beating the New York Rangers 3-1 in Game 5 on Thursday night, the Lightning are now on win away from their third straight Stanley Cup Final appearance.
Meanwhile, the Rangers only have themselves to blame relinquishing leads in both Games 3 and 5. They will now once again have to stave off elimination on Saturday night at Amalie Arena if they hope to continue their season.
It’s a tall task with Tampa being 6-1 at home in the playoffs and New York is only 2-7 away from the Garden. However, the Rangers are also 5-0 this postseason when facing elimination.
Can they do it again? The answer will come this weekend.
NHL Playoffs: Lightning 3 vs Rangers 1
Ryan Lindgren got the Rangers on the board first midway through the second period. Tyler Motte’s forecheck caused a turnover that the defenseman converted with a quick snapshot over Andrei Vasilevskiy’s right shoulder.
However, a little over 7 minutes later, Mikhail Sergachev floated a shot at a crowded crease that Igor Shesterkin simply did not see to tie it a 1 after two periods.
“That one went in and it’s a good feeling,” Sergachev said. “I haven’t scored a lot of goals, but it definitely felt great.”
The Rangers had plenty of chances in the third period, but it was either a big Vasilevskiy save or a whiff that kept them from taking the lead. Ryan Strome’s miss on a wide open net off a feed from Andrew Copp stands out as a prime of example of their offensive struggles in this series.
Ondrej Palat’s tip of a Sergachev shot with 1:50 remaining in regulation was the devastating blow. Once again, Tampa took Shesterkin’s eyes away by overloading the front of the net. It’s an area the Rangers must address in Game 6 if they hope to get back to the Garden for Game 7 next Tuesday.
Brandon Hagel’s empty-netter sealed the deal with 59 remaining.
“It’s tough tonight,” New York coach Gerard Gallant said. “It’s a tough night, there’s no doubt. But tomorrow we’ll get on the airplane and we’ll be ready to go play a game in Tampa Bay. It’ll be a battle. They’re a good hockey team. That’s why they’re the Stanley Cup champs. We’re going to have to go in there and play our best game and win a game to give ourselves a chance for Game 7 back here.”NHL.com