lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, left, looks down as the New York Rangers celebrate a goal by Chris Kreider during the first period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Lightning Claw Back to Top Rangers, Keep Series Competitive

When it appeared the Tampa Bay Lightning were on the brink of falling to a 3-0 series deficit in the Eastern Conference Final, the Bolts scored three unanswered goals, defeating the New York Rangers 3-2.

Rangers Take Advantage First

An action-packed first period went scoreless after a combined 27 shots on net between the two teams.

It wasn’t until the 7:37 mark in the second period when Mika Zibanejad opened scoring with a power play goal on a one-timer.

A little over two minutes later, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead with another power play goal dished in by Chris Kreider. With that goal, Kreider tied the late Rangers legend Rod Gilbert for most playoff goals in franchise history with 34.

Lightning Strikes Back

Trailing by two, Tampa wasted no time in their successful comeback effort.

Of the three penalties committed by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba, the Lightning capitalized on two of them.

Nikita Kucherov lit the lamp on Tampa’s first power play goal, merely a minute after Kreider’s tally.

Following Trouba’s second infraction, Steven Stamkos blasted the puck past Igor Shesterkin at 1:22 in the third period to even the game up at 2.

The Lightning outshot the Rangers 52-30, but the contest remain tied until the final minute. Ondrej Palat scored the game-winning goal with 42 seconds left, off a gorgeous backhanded pass from Kucherov, that sent Amalie Arena into a frenzy.

Simply put, the reigning back-to-back champs used their vast playoff experience to keep this series competitive at 2-1.

Goaltending Excellence

Billed as featuring two of the best goaltenders in the NHL, both Igor Shesterkin and Andrei Vasilevskiy were superb in Game 3.

Shesterkin made 49 saves with a .942 save percentage. In a game which the Lightning outplayed the Rangers, he made save after save and was a huge reason the score was kept close throughout.

After a shaky display in Games 1 and 2, Vasilevskiy was back to his top-flight self on Sunday. He stopped 28 out of 30 shots on net with a save percentage of .933. Additionally, Vasilevskiy appeared to be more composed in net and didn’t let up as many rebound opportunities.

Injuries

Rangers center Ryan Strome suffered a lower-body injury after a shove from Ondrej Palat in the second period. He did not return. His status is uncertain for Game 4.

Brayden Point has been out with a lower-body injury since the end of the Lightning’s first round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Point has already been ruled out for Game 4.

Game 4 will take place Tuesday at 8 p.m. with coverage on ESPN.

About Ross Kaufman

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