The two-time defenders of the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL title recorded their second win in the NHL Eastern Conference final and tied the New York Rangers 2-2 in a four-game winning streak. Tampa won 4-1 in the fourth game. Tampa took the lead on home ice after just two minutes and 38 seconds of the first third after Pat Maroon’s goal.
In the second and third periods, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos were successful for a 3-0 lead. The Rangers scored a consolation goal through Artemije Panarin, and the final score was set by Ondrej Palat with a goal in an undefended goal nine seconds before the end.
The fifth game of the series will be on Friday night in New York. The winner of the Eastern Conference finals will face Colorado Avalanche in the grand final for the Stanley Cup. Colorado eliminated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0.
In addition, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy proved to be a brick wall in the net, as he stopped 33 of the 34 shots that he faced. Vasilevskiy didn't surrender a goal until Artemi Panarin scored on a rebound with just 3:33 remaining in the final period.
Just 2:38 into the contest, Maroon opened the scoring as he flipped home the rebound on an initial shot from defenseman Zach Bogosian. Bogosian drove to the net, completely undressed Rangers defenseman Justin Braun with a beautiful move, and put the puck on goaltender Igor Shesterkin to set up Maroon's tally.
The Lightning would add a goal in the second period courtesy of Kucherov. The Tampa Bay winger got in all alone against Shesterkin and ripped a low shot into the back of the net. Palat was the star of the play, as he whipped a terrific pass to Kucherov from center-ice on a rope to set up the breakaway.
Palat would impose his will once again early in the third period. During a scrum on the boards, Palat outmuscled Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad and skated the puck into the face-off circle, where he got a huge shot off. Shesterkin stopped Palat's shot, but Stamkos deposited the juicy rebound into the net.