TAMPA, Fla. — A treacherous lightning and thunder storm engulfed the Tampa Bay space all day on Saturday, and it made its manner onto the Amalie Area ice to scrub away the Rangers.
The Lightning struck the Rangers down the identical manner they’ve their previous 10 straight playoff opponents, drowning the customer’s in all three zones and using a two-goal efficiency from captain Steven Stamkos at hand the Rangers a 2-1 loss that ended their season in Sport 6 of the East remaining Saturday evening at Amalie Area.
Tampa Bay now marches on to its third straight Stanley Cup Last, the place the Avalanche await.
Down a objective with six minutes left of their season, the Rangers earned a important energy play. Andrew Copp gained the faceoff and Frank Vatrano ripped a one-timer that blew previous Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie the sport up.
Precisely 21 seconds later, nevertheless, Stamkos web his second objective of the evening off a tough transfer to the web to zap any momentum the Rangers might have had off the tying rating.
Steven Stamkos beats Igor Shesterkin for the game-winning objective within the Rangers’ 2-1 season-ending loss to the Lightning.NHLI by way of Getty Photos
The Rangers’ 2-0 lead within the sequence was obliterated simply as rapidly because it was constructed, with the Lightning profitable 4 in a row to show that they have been merely the higher group. And that’s simply the way it goes generally, proper? The Lightning are the reigning back-to-back champions and are gunning for a three-peat. The Rangers, in the meantime, earned their first authentic playoff berth in 5 years and went on their longest run since 2015, once they misplaced to the Lightning as nicely.
However the Rangers let a golden alternative slip by means of their fingers by not profitable both Video games 3 or 4. That was their second to grab, and so they didn’t. Now, they head again to New York empty-handed after one of the extraordinary seasons in latest reminiscence.
Frank Vatrano (left) celebrates after scoring a objective within the third interval of the Rangers’ loss.NHLI by way of Getty Photos
Their back-to-back seven-game sequence in Rounds 1 and a pair of finally caught as much as the Rangers, who progressively slowed down because the convention remaining went on. The Lightning’s stretch of relaxation, whereas ready for the Rangers-Hurricanes sequence to finish after they swept the Panthers in 4 video games, fueled their legs simply in time.
It was evident in how the Rangers usually struggled to remain on their skates and resorted to throwing their our bodies round to attempt to include Tampa Bay in Saturday’s loss. And regardless of a heroic effort from Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, whose 28 saves have been the one motive why the sport didn’t get out of hand, the remainder of his group couldn’t muster up any offensive help — as has been a pattern for the Blueshirts this complete season.
Igor Shesterkin, who was spectacular in web, permits the primary of his two targets to Steven Stamkos throughout the Rangers’ loss.Getty Photos
Stamkos opened the scoring simply over midway by means of the second interval, when he caught Shesterkin off guard with a wrister from the highest of the appropriate circle off the push.
The Rangers have been right down to 11 forwards by the third interval, after Ryan Strome went to the locker room with a lower-body harm that has clearly been nagging him for a while. Strome left in the course of pregame warmups earlier than returning and finally suiting up for the sport, whereas Kaapo Kakko was scratched for the primary time this season. In consequence, Dryden Hunt drew into the lineup for the primary time since Sport 3 of the primary spherical towards the Penguins.
If Kakko was wholesome, going with Hunt and an injured Strome over the 2019 second-overall decide was a peculiar selection for Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant.
The Lightning managed the tempo for a majority of the sport, knocking the Rangers off virtually each puck and taking it for themselves. It was as if the Rangers have been getting water boarded at any time when they have been in their very own finish, and the one gap for air was offered by Shesterkin, who was the one motive why the sport was scoreless heading into the primary intermission.
Shesterkin made an amazing toe save on a deflection from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare that will’ve snuck contained in the submit. He additionally stonewalled Anthony Cirelli on a partial breakaway after the Lightning second-line heart acquired behind the Rangers protection towards the tip of the interval.
But when your greatest participant on the ice is your goaltender, very hardly ever will that finish in a win.