The New York Rangers persist and sign: They beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 Friday at Madison Square Garden, taking a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The “Blueshirts” became the first team since the Columbus Blue Jackets, in 2019, to inflict two consecutive losses on the “Bolts” in the playoffs.
Forward Nick Paul cut the lead in half with just over two minutes left in the third period, but it was too little, too late for the Lightning.
Mika Zibanejad continued his excellent work by scoring the game-winning goal in the third period, extending his game streak with at least one point to seven. His excellent wrist shot gave Andrei Vasilevskiy no chance.
The visitors' goalkeeper got off to a much better start than in the series opener, but was still eclipsed by fellow countryman Igor Shesterkin. Vasilevskiy saved just 25 of the winners' 28 shots, while Shesterkin faltered just once in 31 attempts.
Nikita Kucherov was also the author of the only success of the visitors in the first period, after only 2 min 41 s. However, Rangers rallied after that tough start and youngster K'Andre Miller tied the game less than three minutes later.
A member of the "Kid Line" with Alexis Lafrenière and Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko scored his team's second goal thanks to a skillful drop from Adam Fox at the end of the first period.
Frank Vatrano was also an accomplice of this net and that of Miller. He has 12 points in 15 playoff games this year.
The series will travel to Tampa on Sunday for the third duel.