The New York Ranges have once again won a playoff game which was decided by 1 goal. The Rangers skate away from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. This is the fifteenth straight playoff game for the Rangers that was decided by one goal, extending an NHL record.
A fast-paced game that saw chances on both ends of the ice had the Rangers dominating majority of the play. Despite getting multiple scoring chances, Bishop blanked them in the first period. The head coach, Alain Vigneault made subtle little tweaks in his lineup, moving Martin St. Louis down to play with Dominic Moore and Carl Hagelin and moving Kevin Hayes up with Derick Brassard and Rick Nash. A master in his craft, Vigneault’s little changes proved to pay off big as both lines had instant chemistry.
The second period started the same way the first ended, fast-paced and Rangers dominating play. However, the Lightning had managed to slow the game down, which is exactly what they wanted to do against New York in order to eliminate their speed.
As the period winded down, it almost seemed as both teams would head to the locker room tied with no goals. Yet, as always , the Rangers find a way to develop a scoring chance, and with thirteen seconds left who else but Derek Stepan sitting on the doorstep would bury the rebound chance. The man who scored the Game 7 overtime winner last series drew first blood in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Entering the third period, the Ranges had a 1-0 lead, but would give up a power play goal scored by Ondrej Palat on a Ryan McDonagh high-sticking penalty. The Rangers did not become discouraged and kept on battling. After a great penalty kill, Dominic Moore comes out of the box and scores the game winner with 2:25 left to play. Rookie Kevin Hayes centered the puck in front of the net and deflected off Dominic Moore’s shin pad.
After this win, the Rangers have allowed 2 or fewer goals in 21 out of last 22 playoff wins (dating back to Game 1 against Philadelphia last postseason). The Rangers are also 23-6 in a playoff series after winning the first game at home. This just shows how strong this Rangers team is when it comes to tight playoff games and the experience that they have.
The Blueshirts shut down Tampa Bay offensively who have been firing on all cylinders this postseason. Tampa currently leads the playoffs in goals per game and their offensive talent was one to not be taken lightly coming into this series.
New York looks to take a 2-0 series lead as they prepare for Game 2 which will be played Monday night with an 8:00 p.m. start time.