2022 Stanley Cup playoffs — How Rangers and Lightning series got down to 2-2, as well as what lies ahead

The Tampa Bay Lightning You won Games 3 4 at home to tie them up Eastern Conference finals series against the New York Rangers At 2-2.

They were very similar to a Stanley Cup back-toback champion by doing this: controlling play, winning the clutch, and getting star performances from the winger Nikita KucherovCenter Steven Stamkos Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Game 3 was a stunning 3-2 win for winger Ondrej Palat With 42 seconds left before overtime, the game-winner was scored. Game 4 was more dominant, with the Rangers being thwarted by the Lightning's defense.

“We are one of three left here. You expect them to do their best. You want the best for them. Rangers defenseman said, “We want to prove that we can beat them the best.” Jacob Trouba. “We are a rising team. We've arrived. We're ready to play these video games.

Here are five other takeaways from this Eastern Conference finals as the series moves back to New York.

2022 Stanley Cup playoffs -- How Rangers and Lightning series got down to 2-2, as well as what lies ahead

Jon Cooper, Lightning coach, felt Vasilevskiy was affected by the nine-day team layoff that occurred between sweeping the finals. Florida Panthers Game 1 against Rangers

The highly anticipated goalie duel The relationship between ex-Russian national teammates was not balanced. Vasilevskiy, who was the Lightning's MVP in 2021's playoffs, had a.826 save percent with a 4.80 goal-against standard and a plus-3.86 goals saved at 5-on-5. Shesterkin, who is expected to win the Vezina Trophy this season as the NHL's best goalie, had a stunning.964 save rate at 5-on-5 in Rangers' first wins.

In Tampa Bay, the script was reversed. Vasilevskiy did not allow even-strength goals and had a.953 save rate overall in his wins. Shesterkin was no slouch and had a.933 save ratio at 5-on-5, and a overall save percentage of 0.926 in Tampa Bay.

Cooper stated, “He's getting back his mojo.” Cooper stated, “Now that we have some games under our belts, he looks fantastic.”

However, the Rangers felt that they didn't challenge him enough during Games 3 and 4. Their game was also characterized by too much hesitation.

It wasn't second or third chance opportunities in the first two home matches. It was moving east to west across the ice and getting the puck off your stick in under a second. I don't care about who's in the net. Every goalie has to deal with a puck that moves east/west. They have to fight through traffic and then they can't set it to the net. “That's what gives me my best chance.” Chris Kreider said.

“To a man, we can all say that we each received a pass tonight and picked up our heads to try to choose a spot rather than rushing to get it off. It will be difficult to stop a rebound like this, even if he saves. He said that in the first few games, this was how we found success.


The Cirelli line is emerging

Cooper's decision to quit Anthony Cirelli From their top line, slide him between the wingers Brandon Hagel Alex Killorn What is the Game 3?

He said, “Stop them.”

The trio of the “them” mentioned above was the trio Mika Zibanejad, Kreider and Frank VatranoThe Rangers' two wins at Madison Square Garden were aided by a four-goal even-strength goal from. At home, the Lightning saw their last change. They put up the new check line against Zibanejad’s group. In Game 3, the Cirelli Line was +19 in shot attempts. In Game 4, shot attempts were even at 15-15. In both games, however, they kept Rangers' top scorers away from the board at 5-on-5.

It's a great line. They each have their roles. I thought we did a little more offensive [in Game 4]. Zibanejad stated that we should only worry about ourselves, and not about the other players.

Killorn said that Cirelli, one the NHL's top defensive centers, was a key factor in Zibanejad's slowdown.

“As a team, we keep things simple. We do our best to get pucks behind their defensemen, as cliché as it sounds. All three of us are pretty good at protecting the puck low in those situations. Killorn explained that as a line, we can make them play defense for about a third of the match, which is a win for what we are trying to accomplish.

Rangers will have the challenge of finding a way to keep their top players away from these three annoying guys in Game 5.


Rangers have more power-play dominance

Rangers power-play is still on an incredible roll. Artemi PanarinTheir power-play goal in Game 4 came on their 17th postseason opportunity, which was 53 chances. Their 32.1% conversion rate is the highest in the Stanley Cup playoffs with 18 games. Rangers have scored a power play goal in eight of their nine playoff games.

It all starts with Adam Fox Who joins the blue line? Cale Makar You can find the Colorado Avalanche Not coincidentally, the Stanley Cup playoffs' second best power-play group — and the NHL's top young quarterbacks.

He's a shifty, deceptive man. Cooper stated that you have to defend him differently from other guys. Cooper said, “He doesn’t have the best shot in the world, but knows how to make it work, which can be more dangerous.” He knows exactly where to place them. He is able to tell which stick to aim for, not only to score, but also to place a puck in a position that will allow someone to score. He always keeps the pucks in. He knows where to look. [defenseman's] out is, and where their clear. He always seems to be in the right spot. He's the prototypical quarterback up there.

Instead of trying to stop Fox, the Lightning are focusing on disrupting the Rangers' power plays. Panarin, who distributes the puck with skill, and Zibanejad who enjoys taking one-timers in the “Ovi Spot”.

Cooper stated that “we can keep the puck out of Panarin's hands slightly less and one to two more passes going towards Zibanejad,”

Lightning coach says they are able to compete against the powerful unit.

“It's tricky power play. He said that in the end, they are no worse against us than last year. “They were 25% [in the regular season]This is a great power play. We hope to keep them from doing more than they did in the regular season. We're currently on par.

In fact, it was 25.2%. But, who is counting?


Injuries

Rangers received some major injuries breaks in the first two rounds. Just ask any player Pittsburgh Penguins Oder Carolina Hurricanes They will be open to admitting that. Rangers are now in Eastern Conference Finals and injuries have taken their toll on them, not only the ones defenseman. Ryan Lindgren Amazingly, it continues to play through.

Gerard Gallant, Rangers coach, kept repeating that he expected the center Ryan StromeGallant said that he would be available to play Game 4, as he had suffered a lower body injury in Game 3. Gallant now calls him “day to day” because he was not injured in Game 3. Center Filip ChytilRangers' “Kid Line” dynamic player, Chytil, was hurt in the upper body and left Game 4 early. Gallant stated that Chytil should be fine but that it was a matter of time before we know for sure. Center Barclay GoodrowHe managed to play in Game 4, despite having blocked a shot with his feet in Game 3.

At least one Ranger appears to be making progress: Forward Sammy BlaisHe has been out of action since November 14, 2021 due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. During practice, he skated in a regular shirt. Gallant says he still thinks he's a long shot of making it to the conference finals.

“Every team deals with injuries. We appreciate the team's diversity. Trouba stated, “I think we can manage injuries and overcome them.” “Do they miss us? Yeah. Are we hopeful they will return? Yeah. But, we must be able to live without them.”

The Lightning still wait for star center to return. Brayden Point He was injured in the lower body and had to leave Game 7 of the first round, against the Maple Leafs. He skates with regularity, and there's still hope that he'll return to skating during this round.

“If it goes seven times, optimism will stay up.” Cooper stated, “If it goes seven, it gets a little dicey.”

It's at least six.


Final word: There's no panic in N.Y.

On Thursday, Game 5 will be at Madison Square Garden. The series is tied at 2:2.

“We must be positive. We have been in worse situations before. We're OK. But we're good at the Garden. What about our fans? Panarin stated that it would be great to see our fans again.

The Rangers winger claimed that the loss in Tampa would make his team “hungrier and hungry” when they return to Texas. Sometimes it's good to lose. It's how we will react, I believe. I don't believe we have lost our faith. Panarin stated that we will only be more hungry in the next game.

They can be confident. The Rangers have an eight-game winning streak in New York. Their only loss in home postseason was in triple overtime in Game 1 against Pittsburgh Penguins. They have been a different team away and home in their Stanley Cup playoff run. They score 4.22 goals per night at Madison Square Garden. They also give up 2.22 goals every game on the road. The Rangers average 2.44 goals per home game and allow 3.67 goals per away game.

“I'm hoping that it'll be a homer-series. This is what it looks like so far. Gallant stated that while we're quite good in our building and they're very good in theirs.

Gallant believes that the Rangers, like his players can be confident when they return home. But not too confident.

He said, “They need to be calm but also have the courage to go out and play harder.” It's a two-out-of-three. We have the home-ice. But we've gotta play better.”

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