Home Hockey Lightning Advance to Third Straight Stanley Cup Finals With Game 6 Win Over Rangers

Lightning Advance to Third Straight Stanley Cup Finals With Game 6 Win Over Rangers

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Regardless of the game, successful back-to-back championships titles is uncommon as a result of it’s so laborious. Accidents, egos, contract calls for and the wage cap usually derail second title runs.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, although, are one step away from one thing even tougher: successful three Stanley Cups in a row, one thing that hasn’t been achieved within the N.H.L. in almost 4 a long time.

On Saturday, the two-time champion Lightning beat the New York Rangers, 2-1, to win the Japanese Convention finals and return to the Stanley Cup Finals, the place they are going to face the Colorado Avalanche beginning Wednesday in Denver. Tampa’s longtime captain Steven Stamkos scored each Lightning targets, with the game-winner coming late within the third interval.

The Lightning gained the sequence in convincing vogue, dominating the Rangers within the clinching recreation, overcoming a two-game deficit and successful the final 4 video games of the sequence outscoring the Rangers 12-5. The Lightning and their seasoned veterans dedicated few errors, which stored the Rangers’ top-ranked energy play off the ice. The younger Rangers, within the playoffs for the primary time in 5 seasons, failed to attain at even energy within the final 4 video games of the sequence. “We know we didn’t play our best the first two,” Stamkos mentioned after the sport as his teammates celebrated round him on residence ice. “They were executing, we weren’t.”

However, he mentioned, “there’s no panic with this team. The hardest thing to do is to win a championship. We know what it takes.”

The rating and the photographs on aim have been deceivingly shut, and the statistics would have been extra lopsided if not for the sensible play of Rangers’ goalie Igor Shesterkin. The Lightning had way more high quality scoring possibilities, and the Rangers, who had gained all 5 elimination video games in the course of the playoffs, appeared deflated after a disheartening loss in Recreation 5 in New York on Thursday.

Whereas Shesterkin desperately tried to maintain the Rangers within the recreation, his counterpart, Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, was hardly examined. He gained his eight consecutive clinching recreation, together with six shutouts.

Tampa has now gained 11 straight playoff sequence.

The Rangers had not misplaced 4 video games in a row all season, so after three straight losses to the Lightning within the sequence, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant tried to leap begin the Rangers’ offense, which had not scored an even-strength aim for the reason that second recreation of the sequence.

He moved Alexis Lafrenière to the highest line with Mika Zibanejad and Frank Vatrano and moved Chris Kreider to the second line with Barclay Goodrow and Filip Chytil. After the Rangers did not muster a lot offense within the first interval, he moved Kreider again to the highest line.

It did little good. The Lightning have been the far sharper workforce from begin the sport to the end. They skated shortly, made sharp passes and scooped up errant passes by the Rangers. They peppered Shesterkin and tried 25 photographs within the first interval whereas the Rangers made solely 12.

Shesterkin held Tampa at bay, even cleansing up his personal mess. After an try and clear the puck was intercepted by Riley Nash of the Lightning, he stopped a tip-in by his teammate Patrick Maroon. He used his proper pad to cease a tip-in try by Pierre-Édouard Bellemare and denied Anthony Cirelli on a breakaway.

The Rangers got here alive towards the tip of the primary interval. However it was a quick flourish in an in any other case torpid effort. The Rangers weren’t helped by heart Ryan Strome, who performed injured and was a legal responsibility.

The second interval began the identical as the primary, with Tampa on the offensive and Shesterkin retaining the puck out of the online. He robbed Nikita Kucherov, Tampa’s high scorer, when he tried to backhand the puck previous him.

The Rangers got here alive when defenseman Jacob Trouba leveled Corey Perry of the Lightning on the open ice because the puck flew previous. No penalty for interference was referred to as.

Kevin Rooney of the Rangers and Mikhail Sergachev of the Lightning have been despatched off with minor penalties after a scrum in entrance of Vasilevskiy.

In spite of everything the nice stops by Shesterkin, Tampa lastly scored when Stamkos raced previous an injured Strome and fired a wrist shot from the highest of the circle. It was Stamkos’s eighth aim of the playoffs.

The Rangers lastly had an influence play likelihood within the third interval when Corey Perry hit Chytil within the face with a stick. The Rangers mustered a number of photographs, however they have been all blocked.

The Rangers lastly scored on one other energy play when Stamkos was referred to as for holding and Vatrano fired a shot off a face-off that skidded previous Vasilevskiy. It was his second of the sequence and fifth of the playoffs.

No matter momentum the Rangers mustered vanished 21 seconds later. Stamkos, popping out of the penalty field, raced towards the online, took a move from Kucherov and shot the puck. Shesterkin grabbed it together with his glove, however the puck ricocheted out and Stamkos’s leg bumped it into the online. After a overview, the aim stood.

Now Tampa will face the Avalanche, who’ve had loads of time to ponder their subsequent opponent. They completed off the Edmonton Oilers within the Western Convention finals almost every week in the past. They have been the perfect workforce within the West the common season with 119 factors, they usually’re 12-2 up to now within the playoffs, together with sweeps of the Nashville Predators and the Oilers.

They gained their two video games in opposition to Tampa this season.

The Rangers little doubt will spend the summer time desirous about how they blew a two-game lead within the Japanese Convention finals in opposition to the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. However they’ve many causes for optimism. With 110 factors in the course of the common season, the Rangers had their finest level whole in seven years.

The Rangers even have one of many youngest groups within the league and a strong core of rising stars, together with Lafrenière, Chytil and defenseman Adam Fox, in addition to seasoned veterans like Kreider, who had a career-high 52 targets, and his linemate, Zibanejad.

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