Tampa Bay Lightning evened the Eastern Conference Final series 1-1 with a stunning 6-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday. Rangers were drubbed by such a huge margin for the first time in their 14 post-season contests. Tampa Bay also registered their biggest win this post-season at New York.
Tyler Johnson notched up the first hat trick for the Lightning in their playoff history. Tampa Bay’s offense finally managed to strike chords in this game and yield rich dividends against a jittery Rangers side. Alex Killorn added two more to the winner’s tally and Steven Stamkos pumped in another goal. Henrik Lundqvist conceded 6 goals on just 26 shots. Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan each scored a goal to restore some pride for the Rangers.
“That’s something you don’t see very often, and it’s a play that simply can’t happen,” Rangers captain Ryan McDonough said. The Rangers slipped a two-man advantage, as Tyler Johnson scored the first goal in a breakaway. 24-year Johnson, who had earlier scored 8 post-season goals has now become a front-runner for the post-season Most Valuable Player Crown.
Rangers penalty killers too failed to apply themselves, as Tampa Bay notched up three goals at ease with 6 man-advantage.
“We’re in the Eastern Conference finals,” Derek Stepan said after the match. “We’re not playing a team with a poor power play. The have a really good hockey team. You see how detailed you have to be in the playoffs. You make some mistakes and they wind up in the back of your net.”
The winners bounced back from a late goal-defeat in game 1 on Saturday.
“We were pretty upset with our effort,” Killorn said regarding the Game 1 loss. “We talked about how bad we played and we were still in that game. Tonight we played to win. I think the last game we were kind of ‘OK, it’s Game 1. We’re going to play hard.’ Today we played to win.”
The series now shift to Florida for the next two games on Wednesday and Friday.