NEW YORK — If the New York Rangers’ youth hasn’t seemed overwhelmed by the magnitude of enjoying within the Eastern Conference ultimate, it is in all probability as a result of they are not.
Friday’s 3-2 win towards the Tampa Bay Lightning moved them two wins away from a visit to the Stanley Cup Final, with as much as 5 video games remaining within the sequence to get it performed.
The Rangers ended the Lightning’s NHL-record 17-game streak of following a playoff loss with a win.
The Blueshirts have been the higher staff via two video games with the two-time defending champions, who’ve seemed a step sluggish and handled numerous frustrations by the hands of Rangers star goalie Igor Shesterkin.
But an even bigger take a look at shall be seeing if the Rangers – who’ve gained 4 in a row going again to the earlier spherical – can carry this momentum to Tampa, which is the place Game 3 shall be performed at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Lightning had an opportunity to show the tables early, with a power-play objective from Nikita Kucherov giving them a 1-0 lead simply 2:41 into the primary interval. But New York’s response was swift.
As they’ve all through the playoffs, it was the under-25 membership stepping up when the Rangers wanted a lift.
K’Andre Miller tied the rating roughly three minutes. His first try was blocked by Brandon Hagel, however he regathered and shot once more from the excessive slot, beating Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy on the glove facet.
Then, with 2:28 remaining within the interval, it was Kaapo Kakko netting his second objective of the playoffs to provide the Rangers a 2-1 lead. It got here on a redirection off a go from Adam Fox, who faked out Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta after which weaved a go via site visitors to Kakko on the far submit.
Fox had arrange Alexis Lafrenière for a chief probability moments earlier and was a wizard with the puck all through the evening. The reigning Norris Trophy winner turned in one in all his finest video games of the playoffs, ending with two assists whereas consuming up a team-high 25:12 time on ice, creating 4 takeaways and making a number of key performs within the defensive zone.
The Rangers carried that momentum into the second interval, the place they’d maintain Tampa to solely three pictures on objective via the primary 14:20. During that point, they generated 14 pictures of their very own and had a number of probabilities to pad their lead.
The Kid Line that includes Lafrenière, Chytil and Kakko was on the heart of that push, with that trio combining for 9 pictures on objective whereas sustaining offensive-zone time for spectacular stretches.
An 0-for-4 displaying from the Rangers on the facility play stored the Lightning inside putting distance, as they ended the second with a push for the tying objective. But Shesterkin made seven saves within the ultimate 5:40 of the interval to take care of the lead.
To start the third, it was a well-recognized supply of offense coming via with the all-important insurance coverage objective.
Fox scooped up a Tampa giveaway within the impartial zone and tapped the puck to Mika Zibanejad, who then beat Vasilevskiy over the proper shoulder to tie for the staff lead with 9 playoff targets to make it 3-1.
That turned out to be essential, as Nick Paul scored with 2:04 remaining to chop the Lightning deficit to 3-2.
Shesterkin survived a livid ending to complete with 29 saves, together with 13 within the third interval – and one enormous one whereas sprawling throughout the crease on Steven Stamkos with underneath a minute to play.
Around the rinks
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This article initially appeared on NorthJersey.com: NHL playoffs: Rangers take 2-0 sequence lead on Lightning