The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning showed that they were far from finished just as the New York Rangers appeared ready to drive the Lightning to the verge of defeat. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on Game 4!
Two late goals by Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos helped wipe out a 2-1 deficit for the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final, and Ondrej Palat completed the comeback with his 10th career playoff winning goal to cap off a thrilling 3-2 victory.
“We’ve been in spots like this,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “A big thing for us was, we felt we had a recipe, we just had to stay with it. I think there were times in the series where we’ve tried to manufacture things that weren’t there that put us on our heels, gave up opportunities. Whether it was a break, whatever it was, we weren’t in sync.”
Despite the Rangers’ best efforts, Tampa Bay is a squad that refuses to go down without a fight.
“I wouldn’t say we let it get away because they played really well,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “But we could’ve stolen it tonight and been up 3-0.”
In the second and third periods, both teams scored two goals while on the power play, and there were a total of 10 penalties. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider’s goals gave the Rangers an instant 2-0 lead, but the Lightning took advantage of two Jacob Trouba penalties in the second and third periods to tie it up at 2-all.
Igor Shesterkin deserves a Oscar award for this brutal dive against Corey Perry. pic.twitter.com/AKsfFwP3Kj
— CenterIceHockey (@CenterIcefb) June 5, 2022
Trouba was penalized three times, the last of which was for a trip on Alex Killorn late in the third period, ending a four-minute Rangers power play.
“I think we want to play five-on-five,” said Rangers defenseman Adam Fox, who contributes a key point on both the penalty and power play.
“We have a real good power play, but as you can see, so do they. I think we’re a skill-and-speed team and we play better when the game is flowing and we can play five-on-five. Obviously, lost a little momentum at the start of the third, just couldn’t get it back.”
All game, it was clear that Tampa Bay tried to swarm Igor Shesterkin. At 8:23 of the second period, Riley Nash of the Lightning was penalized for goalie interference. This gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead when Kreider scored on a rebound of Zibanejad’s one-time shot.
The power-play goal also brought Kreider’s total of man-advantage goals in the history of the franchise to 34, tying him with Rod Gilbert and Adam Graves for the most in a season (62).
After Ryan Strome, the second-line center, got hit in the lower back by Palat at the beginning of the second period, the Rangers only had 11 forwards for most of the rest of the game. Strome came back for one shift before going back to the locker room due to a lower-body injury.
Ryan Strome to the locker room: pic.twitter.com/bXOy3Le84Q
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) June 5, 2022
“Each game has its own kind of thing, each period, each shift,” Kreider said. “I think the most important thing is just staying in the moment.”
Even though Tampa Bay finally looked like the champions that have scared the rest of the NHL for the last two years, the Rangers still kept up with them until the end of Game 3. During the regular season and at times in the playoffs, the Rangers had trouble holding on to leads. And this is the first time in this playoff run that the Rangers have been ahead in a series.
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