NHL Playoffs: Lightning dominate Rangers to even series

nhl playoffs lightning
Jun 7, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) (not pictured) shot goes past New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) for a goal in the third period in game four of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Final is all square at two games each after the Tampa Bay Lightning put on a clinic to beat the New York Rangers.

On Tuesday, the final score of 4-1 was flattering for the visitors with Tampa controlling the play from the onset. The series will now shift back to New York where the Rangers are 8-1 in the playoffs.

Losing two games in Tampa is just part of New York’s problems. Despite taking warmups, center Ryan Strome was unable to play in Game 3. That was followed by an injury to Filip Chytil late in the second period putting him out for remainder of the contest in Game 4.

“Strome is day-to-day and hopefully ready to go Thursday night,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant updated. “Fil left in the second period, he should be fine. But we’ll have to wait and see.”

Strome has 9 points in 17 playoff games, and Chytil was coming on strong with 6 points in his last 6 postseason contests.

Game 5 of this best-of-seven series is set for Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

NHL Playoffs: Lightning 4 vs Rangers 1

nhl playoffs
Jun 7, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) saves a rebound shot from Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Corey Perry (10) in the first period in game four of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning jumped on the Rangers just 2:38 into the contest. Pat Maroon, who is vying for his fourth straight Stanley Cup that includes one with the St. Louis Blues in 2019, flipped a rebound over Igor Shesterkin’s outstretched glove.

From there, the Lightning dominated with Nikita Kucherov scoring on a breakaway in the second period to extend the lead. It was his 50th home playoff point, a feat only accomplished by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in the last 35 seasons.

Steven Stamkos added the insurance marker in the third period with Ondrej Palat getting an empty-net goal. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 stops but the vast majority were low danger chances.

“We’ve progressively gotten better, and I think we took some more positive steps tonight,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We had a bit of a layoff, and I think now we’re starting to find our game and now we just have to keep this going in New York.”

NHL.com

For the Rangers, they need to find a sense of desperation and a lot better defensive awareness in the neutral zone.

Artemi Panarin was the lone Rangers goal scorer with a meaningless power play tally late in the final frame. Igor Shesterkin finished the night with 27 saves on 30 shots he faced in the losing effort.

“I’m hoping it’s going to be a homer series,” Gallant said via NHL.com. “That’s what it looks like so far. We were pretty good in our building and they’re pretty good in their building. That’s what I see so far.”