Lightning Ends Rangers Season With Shutout Win in Game 7

Ben Bishop made 22 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning shut out the Rangers 2-0 Friday night at The Garden to win Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, winning the series 4 games to 3 and ending the Rangers season.

The Lightning now advances to the Stanley Cup Finals next week, where they will play the winner of Saturday’s Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals between Chicago and Anaheim.

In the series, the Rangers lost three of the four games played at The Garden, and were shutout at home by Bishop in Games 5 and 7.

Tampa Bay was the more aggressive team in the first period, outshooting the Rangers 9-5, but both teams appeared tentative, and the game was scoreless after the first 20 minutes.

Neither team scored in the second period. The Rangers failed to capitalize on two power play opportunities. Henrik Lundqvist made jaw-dropping saves on Jason Garrison and Tyler Johnson in the final minutes of the period to keep the game scoreless.

The Lightning finally broke the scoreless tie in the early minutes of the third period. Alex Killorn scored at 1:54, with a lot of traffic in front of Lundqvist, to make the score 1-0. Lundqvist would rob Cedric Paquette of a goal at 7:56. But later, Tampa Bay got an odd-man rush up ice and Ondrej Palat took a pass from Johnson and scored at 11:17 to make it 2-0.

Lundqvist was pulled with 3:44 to play, but the Rangers couldn’t get a shot past Bishop, and after 101 games, the Rangers’ season is over, five wins short of the Stanley Cup they – and Rangers fans everywhere – so desperately wanted.


Rangers Rout Lightning 7-3, To Force Game 7

The Rangers broke open a close game, scoring five goals in the third period, to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals, forcing a winner-take-all Game Seven Friday. Derick Brassard had three goals and two assists, and Rick Nash and J.T. Miller each added four points.

The Rangers opened the scoring at the 3:36 mark of the first period when Brassard scored his 7th goal of the post-season to make it 1-0. Later in the first, Keith Yandle‘s long slapshot was deflected in at 15:30, and the Blueshirts were up 2-0.

The Lightning cut the lead to 2-1 when former Ranger Ryan Callahan scored a power play goal at 17:20. Tampa Bay outshot the Blueshirts 16-7 in the period.

Neither team scored in the second period, thanks largely to Henrik Lundqvist, who made key saves on Brian Boyle, J.T. Brown, and, in the final minute of the period, Tyler Johnson. Lundqvist made 36 saves on the night.

In the third period, the Rangers exploded for three goals in the first eight minutes of the period. Miller scored his first goal of the post-season at 3:02, off a sweet pass from Brassard behind the net, to make it 3-1. Then James Sheppard scored his first of the post-season at 6:00 to make it 4-1.

Brassard added his second goal of the game at 7:14 to make it 5-1 Rangers; that goal sent Ben Bishop to the bench in place of backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Nikita Kucherov scored twice for the Lightning during the next six minutes of play, sandwiching a Nash goal at 10:21 that had made it 6-2. Brassard’s empty netter at 18:19 provided the final 7-3 margin.

The five goals in the third period were the most in a period by the Rangers since February 14th against Arizona. The seven Rangers goals tied a season high, matching their total against Anaheim March 22nd.

Game Seven, with a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals on the line, will be Friday night at The Garden.


Bishop, Lightning Shut Out Rangers, Take 3-2 Series Lead

48 hours after making Ben Bishop look mortal, the Rangers couldn’t solve the Lightning netminder Sunday night at The Garden. Bishop stopped all 26 shots he faced, Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist, and the Lightning shut out the Blueshirts 2-0, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals.

Bishop had given up five goals in back-to-back games, including a 5-1 Tampa Bay loss in Game 4. Sunday’s win was his second shutout of the post-season.

The Rangers now have their backs to the wall. They must win Game 6 Tuesday to force a Game 7 back at The Garden Friday.

The Rangers looked good early. The Blueshirts played smart, aggressive defense in the first period, and had numerous odd-man-rushes up ice with a head of steam offensively, but after one period the game was still scoreless.

The Lightning got on the scoreboard first, midway through the second period. Valtteri Filppula made it 1-0 at 13:29, off a nice pass from Stamkos. Later in the period, Stamkos scored a power play goal, taking a pass in front of the net from Ondrej Palat, and putting the puck past Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-0 after two periods. Stamkos has now scored in four straight games in the series.

Neither team scored in the third. The Rangers pulled Lundqvist for much of the game’s final three minutes, but still could not score with the man advantage.

Lundqvist made 20 saves. The Rangers power play went 0-for-4 on the night.

With the season on the brink of ending, Game 6 is Tuesday night in Tampa.

Lundqvist, Rangers Rebound, Top Lightning 5-1 To Even Series

Henrik Lundqvist rebounded from back-to-back losses, and the Rangers got two goals from Rick Nash and one from Martin St. Louis, leading the Blueshirts to a 5-1 win over the Lightning Friday night in Tampa, evening the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals at two games apiece.

Lundqvist had allowed 12 goals in the past two games, losses in Game 2 and 3. He made 38 saves Friday in the win. It was the Rangers’ first win of the 2014-15 post-season by more than one goal.

Nash opened the scoring late in the first period. Taking a pass from Kevin Hayes, Nash bulldozed his way toward the Lightning net and slid the puck past Ben Bishop to make it 1-0 New York at 17:08. It was Nash’s 3rd goal of the playoffs and first goal since Game 6 of the Washington series.

The Lightning answered midway through the second period. They have used crisp passing throughout the series to score goals, and they used them again to tie the game. Steven Stamkos scored at 11:30, off a great pass from Alex Killorn, to make it 1-1.

But the Rangers did not let the Lightning get momentum. Chris Kreider put a rebound in for the go-ahead goal at 15:16, Kreider’s team-leading 7th goal of the post-season. And 1:48 later, Keith Yandle‘s shot was deflected in to make it 3-1 after two periods.

The Lightning out-shot the Rangers 19-6 in the second, but Lundqvist stood tall again and again.

In the third, St. Louis scored a power play goal at 5:08, his first goal of the post-season, to make it 4-1 Rangers. And Nash added another power play goal, at 11:33 to make it 5-1. It was the first multi-goal playoff game of his career.

The Blueshirts managed to keep Tampa Bay’s super-productive Triplets Line of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov off the scoresheet.

There were multiple heroes for the Rangers. Nash had two goals and an assist. Yandle had a goal and two assists. Hayes and Kevin Klein  each had two assists.

Game 5 will be Sunday night at The Garden.

Kucherov OT Goal Gives Lightning 2-1 Series Lead

Nikita Kucherov‘s goal 3:33 into overtime gave the Lightning a 6-5 win over the Rangers Wednesday night in Tampa. The win gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals.

The game started well for the Blueshirts. Derick Brassard scored a power play goal just 62 seconds into the game to make it 1-0 Rangers. And Jesper Fast‘s goal at 9:55 made it 2-0.

The Lightning answered about a minute later when Steven Stamkos scored his 5th goal of the post-season at 11:07 to make it 2-1.

In the second, Ondrej Palat tied the game at 2 with a power play goal at 10:32, and Tampa Bay took the lead at 13:17 when Tyler Johnson, who scored a hat trick Monday in Game 3, scored during a 4-on-4 to make it 3-2 Tampa Bay.

Alex Killorn made it four straight goals for the Lightning when he scored on a wrist shot at 17:18 to make it 4-2. But Fast scored 29 seconds later to make it 4-3 after two periods.

Early in the third, captain Ryan McDonagh, who was critical of the team’s play in Game 3, scored a power play goal at 2:28 to tie the game, 4-4. But Palat’s second goal of the game, with 5:55 to play, gave Tampa Bay a 5-4 lead as time wound down.

But Dan Boyle tied the score yet again, with just 1:56 to play, putting a rebound past Ben Bishop, and sending the game to overtime. 

In the extra session, Henrik Lundqvist stopped J.T. Brown on a breakaway, but a minute later, Kucherov’s wrist shot past Lundqvist’s right shoulder gave the Lightning a wild 6-5 win.

The steady stream of 2-1 games this post-season seems like a distant memory. Lundqvist and the Rangers’ defense, who had given up 21 goals in the first 13 games of the post-season, have now allowed 12 goals in the past two games.

Game 4 is Friday night in Tampa.

Tyler Johnson Hat Trick Powers 6-2 Lightning Win in Game 2

Tyler Johnson scored a shorthanded goal, a power play goal, and an even-strength goal, as Tampa Bay beat the Rangers 6-2 Monday night at The Garden, to even the Eastern Conference Finals at one game apiece.

Johnson now has 11 goals in the playoffs, tops in the NHL. It was the first Rangers game this post-season that was decided by more than one goal.

The first period was marked – or perhaps marred – by seven two-minute minor penalties. Early in the period, the Rangers found themselves in a 5-on-3 advantage, but Martin St. Louis lost the puck near the blue line. Johnson picked up the puck, skated in on Henrik Lundqvist and scored to make it 1-0 Tampa Bay at 5:26. The goal was reviewed, to see if the net was knocked off its moorings before the puck crossed the line, and the call stood.

Chris Kreider continued his hot play of late, scoring a power play goal at 8:50 to tie the game up at 1-1.

Later in the first, Johnson scored a power play goal, from the left of the net, off a great pass from Steven Stamkos, to make it 2-1 Lightning at 11:15.

Midway through the second period, Johnson completed his hat trick, scoring on a wrist shot at 8:17 to make it 3-1. Marc Staal lost his balance while skating after the puck in the Tampa Bay zone, creating an odd man rush for the Lightning. Ondrej Palat‘s shot hit the post and Johnson knocked the loose puck in. The Rangers answered at 14:17 when Derek Stepan put a rebound past Ben Bishop for a power play goal to make it 3-2.

It was all Lightning in the third period. Alex Killorn scored at 3:09 to make the score 4-2, off a perfect cross-ice pass from Victor Hedman. Stamkos added a power play goal at 6:28, and Killorn scored a power play goal at 17:58 for the final 6-2 margin.

The Blueshirts gave up three power play goals for only the second time this season [October 21st at New Jersey]. Bishop made 35 saves in the win.

Game 3 is Wednesday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa.



Moore’s Late Goal Gives Rangers Game 1 Win Over Tampa Bay

Dominic Moore‘s goal with 2:25 remaining gave the Rangers a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Saturday afternoon at The Garden, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. New York has now played 13 straight games in this post-season that have been decided by one goal.

The Rangers started the game as the more aggressive team, but could not convert any of their 11 first period shots on goal, and the game was scoreless at the end of the period.

In the second, the teams traded chances, but neither team managed to score until Derek Stepan, the hero in Game 7 against Washington, scored with 12.7 seconds to go, to make it 1-0, Rangers.

Early in the third period, after a high-sticking penalty on Ryan McDonagh, the Lightning capitalized. Ondrej Palat scored a power play goal at 6:45, off a perfect pass from Tyler Johnson, to make it 1-1. The Rangers’ penalty killing unit always seems to suffer when McDonagh is in the penalty box.

Then, late in the third, after killing off a Moore tripping penalty, Kevin Hayes skated out from behind the Tampa Bay net with the puck. He passed to Moore, who was in front of the net with a defender on him. Moore managed to deflect Hayes’ pass into the net past Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop for what was the game-winning goal. It was Moore’s first goal of the 2014-15 post-season.

Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves in the win.

Game 2 is Monday night at The Garden.

Stepan OT Goal Sends Rangers To Conference Finals

Derek Stepan scored 11:24 into overtime to give the Rangers a stirring 2-1 win over the Capitals at The Garden Wednesday night, in Game Seven of their playoff series. The goal sent The Garden into a frenzy, and propelled the Blueshirts into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Rangers came back from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the series, the second straight year the Blueshirts have accomplished that.

All twelve of the games they have played in the post-season have been decided by one goal. The Rangers are now 4-0 in overtime playoff games this post-season.

Alex Ovechkin, who guaranteed the Capitals would win the game, got Washington on the board first, scoring at 12:50 of the first period to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead.

Kevin Hayes pulled the Rangers even at the 6:22 mark of the second period, scoring a power play goal on a perfect cross-ice pass from J.T. Miller.

Neither team scored in the third period, and in the overtime, the Capitals dominated play for the first five or six minutes, as the Rangers were unable to get the puck out of their own zone.

The pace settled down and midway through the overtime, Keith Yandle picked up a loose puck after a face-off in the Capitals’ zone. He passed to Dan Girardi, who fired a slapshot from just inside the blue line. Stepan picked up the rebound and shot it over Braden Holtby for the series-winning goal.

Henrik Lundqvist and Holtby were both spectacular on this night, and throughout the series. Lundqvist made 35 saves while Holtby had 37.

The Rangers will host the Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday afternoon.

Kreider’s Two Goals Help Rangers Force A Game 7

The Rangers had a three-goal lead over the Capitals with 15:36 to play Sunday night, and managed to hang on for a 4-3 win to force a deciding Game 7 Wednesday night at The Garden.

All eleven games New York has played this post-season have been decided by one goal.

Chris Kreider set the tempo very early, scoring just 40 seconds into the game, on a great individual effort. As he streaked toward the net, he fought off Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen and put the puck past Braden Holtby and into the net for an early 1-0 Rangers lead – and a huge momentum lift for the team.

Kreider would then score a power play goal with 0.3 seconds left in the period to make it 2-0. The officials reviewed the goal and determined that it had beaten the horn to end the period. It was Kreider’s fifth goal of the post-season, tying him with Derick Brassard for most on the team.

The Capitals cut it to 2-1 just 28 seconds into the second period, on a score by Jason Chimera. The Capitals out-shot the Rangers 18-4 in that second period but did not score again.

The Rangers extended their lead early in the third period. Rick Nash, who has struggled to score this post-season, notched his first goal of this series, just 54 seconds in, to make it 3-1 Rangers. And a Dan Boyle slapshot a few minutes later, at 4:24, made it 4-1 New York, the largest lead the team has had this post-season.

But the Capitals didn’t roll over. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored at 7:40 to make it 4-2. Then Joel Ward scored at 10:33 to make it 4-3, and it was a one-goal margin again.

The Capitals kept play down in the Rangers’ end for most of the rest of the game. Their 45 shots on goal in the game were the most the Rangers have allowed all season.

The Blueshirts were able to stave off the Capitals, and even killed off a delay-of-game penalty with 2:44 to play, and held on for the 4-3 win.

Henrik Lundqvist made tough save after tough save all night; he had 42 saves on the night, his high for the season.

McDonagh Goal in OT Keeps Rangers Season Alive

Facing elimination Friday night at The Garden, Chris Kreider‘s goal with 1:41 to play in regulation tied the game, and Ryan McDonagh‘s slapshot 9:37 into overtime won Game 5 against the Capitals, 2-1, as the Rangers kept their season alive.

The Rangers still trail Washington three-games-to-two in the best-of-seven second round series. Game 6 will be Sunday night in Washington.

The Blueshirts were down to the final minutes of their season, trailing 1-0. The offensive struggles that have beset the team in the post-season continued Friday, though on this night the team had numerous chances to score, only to be thwarted time and time again by Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.

With just under two minutes to play, Henrik Lundqvist was heading off the ice for an extra skater when Kreider scored to tie the game, as the Garden crowd finally had something to cheer about. Lundqvist hadn’t gotten to the bench yet when the puck went in. It was Kreider’s third goal of the playoffs, on assists from Keith Yandle and Derek Stepan. 

Then, midway through the overtime, Jesper Fast stole the puck in the neutral zone, got it to Stepan, who dropped it back for McDonagh. The captain’s slap shot beat Holtby, ensuring a Game 6.

The game started much more quietly. The Rangers came out aggressively in the first five minutes of the game but could not capitalize. Neither team scored in the first two periods, but in the third, Curtis Glencross scored at 10:54 to give Washington a 1-0 lead, setting the stage for Kreider and McDonagh.

Until the final few moments, Holtby was stellar, making 41 saves. Lundqvist, who has allowed only 16 goals in 10 games this post-season, made 28 saves.