New York Rangers capture Game 1 final Eastern Conference from ‘rusty’ Tampa Bay Lightning

NEW YORK – The New York Rangers entered Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals with their adrenaline still in place from Monday’s Game 7 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Tampa Bay Lightning, by contrast, hit the ice for the first time since they finished sweeping the Florida Panthers back on May 23.

Their distinctive display showed off in the Rangers 6-2 break at Lightning Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden to lead 1-0 in the series.

“It was very dangerous [for us]. As we discussed, our team continued. We had a day off, we played a game, and it looks good to us tonight, “said Rangers coach Gerard Gallant.” They were not the same, being nine days ago. It makes a difference. “

His friend, Jon Cooper, also described the rust.

“We must have been a little tired as the game went on. We haven’t played in the game for a while here,” he said. “But there is no excuse on our side. I give the Rangers all the points in their game.”

Lightning players weren’t looking to use resignation as a defense due to insecurity, either.

“We did not do well,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. “This is what it is. We are not the party that will use that as an excuse. We have to be better.”

The match was hailed as the winner between Lightning Andrei Vasilevskiy, who won the MVP playoffs for the Stanley Cup defending champions last summer, and Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin, who is expected to win the Vezina Trophy as a league. top goalscore this season.

Instead, the Rangers scored more goals in one game than Vasilevskiy lost in his previous five games combined.

New York were on Lightning from the first minute of the game, with Chris Kreider scoring on a Tampa Bay turn of just 1:11 in his ninth season. But Stamkos scored the same goal 7:18 in the first.

“The first goal, it sucks. But I think we started well again,” Cooper said. “But I think there were things we did tonight that we didn’t do much in the last two games. The Rangers have strong players. You give them an inch, and they take one mile.”

In the second half, forward Frank Vatrano also ran to stop the elusive crowd and later shot Vasilevskiy to take the lead. Lightning responded, 42 seconds later, to Ondrej Palat’s goal. But Rangers’ “Kid Line” hit twice in the last five minutes to lead New York. Filip Chytil scored his sixth and seventh playoffs, beating Vasilevskiy at 10:09 and finishing the two-minute Rangers’ unbeaten run with a small shot at Vasilevskiy at 15:43.

The Rangers did not concede in the third, scoring 30 seconds in time for Artemi Panarin’s shot and hit for the first time in a powerful game on Mika Zibanejad’s eighth goal in the playoffs.

“Turk has run them,” Cooper said of Galant and his team. “He hasn’t moved to the playoffs.”

Tampa Bay defender Victor Hedman said the Rangers are also a different team than the Lightning saw in the regular season.

“Yeah, a little bit. They have strong intentions, good D-corps, some purchases that we didn’t see in their jerseys,” he said.

The Lightning last met Ranger on March 19, just before the NHL trade deadline. Since then, New York have added forward Andrew Copp and Tyler Motte, as well as defender Justin Braun. The Rangers also found additional lines that clicked in the postseason, such as the “Kid Line.”

“You know, he’s rolling. From the big win against Carolina, they were confident he was coming into tonight’s game. We were expecting that,” Hedman said.

Cooper also noticed the Rangers’ differences, but said that in the end it was the well-known names that made the difference in Game 1.

“They’ve done more. They have a good team,” he said. “But all the guys who have been here for a while have their fingerprints on the paper,” he said.

Other important names were not mentioned on Lightning’s pages, such as Nikita Kucherov, Hedman and Brandon Hagel. He didn’t look like the team that knocked out the Panthers in the second half. But Cooper said he had started wrong in the past, and there was no reason to panic.

“It’s Game 1. We’ve been through it before. We won the series when we lost the first game and won the series when we won the first game,” he said.

Game 2 is set for Friday night in New York.


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