Rangers, Lundqvist refuse to lose
Elimination games are old hat for Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers and they continued their ice water in their veins approach to do-or-die hockey by winning for the 15th time in 18 games since 2012 when they were on the verge of being knocked out of the playoffs. Tuesday night in Tampa it was 7-3 for the Rangers who get to return to Broadway and don their blueshirts for Game 7 on Friday night.
Once again it was Henrik Lundqvist who kept the Rangers in contention while the opposition blasted away and kept the pressure on. The Rangers took an early lead and were up by two goals in the first period but it was the home Lightning squad that tested Lundqvist often in the first period, outshooting the Rangers 16-7.
Ahead 1-0, Lundqvist stopped Steven Stamkos from in close, with a pad save, with the Lightning on a power play.
In the second period, with the Rangers protecting a 2-1 lead, Lundqvist stopped the dangerous Tyler Johnson twice, in the first and last minutes of the period. After two periods, the Rangers held that 2-1 lead, while being outshot, 29-18.
Lightning missed opportunities
In a frustrating night for the Lightning, a series of missed opportunities would cost them dearly. Former Ranger captain Ryan Callahan was still looking for his first goal of the playoffs when his shot was re-directed over the net by Lundqvist.
Callahan finally did score a goal to make the score 2-1 but Lundqvist was always in position to frustrate the best Lightning chances, like this J.T. Brown scoring opportunity.
Early jump, late flurry
The Rangers received the perfect start they were hoping for when Derick Brassard scored on their first shot of the game, his seventh of the playoffs and the first of three goals on the evening.
The Rangers would score five times in the third period, including goals by J.T. Miller, James Sheppard and Brassard in a stretch of 4:12 that turned the game into a rout. Two Nikita Kucherov tallies were off-set by Rangers goals by Rick Nash and an empty-netter by Brassard that delivered the final outcome.