TAMPA — By the end of the second round, the Lightning had arguably the best goalie in the world — Montreal's MVP finalist, Carey Price — taking the blame for a conference semifinal series loss.
And now Tampa Bay's relentless offensive attack has overwhelmed another one of the league's greats, Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist, called "The King," who has allowed six goals in back-to-back games for just the second time in his 10-year career and the first time in 107 playoff starts.
Lundqvist, who had been in the conversation for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, has a 4.75 GAA and a .840 save percentage in six games against the Lightning this season. He has given up five or more goals six times this season, including the playoffs; four of those have come against Tampa Bay.
"It's really challenging for me the way they move the puck," Lundqvist said after the Lightning's 6-5 overtime win in Game 3 on Wednesday. "The way they find open ice in the slot and scoring chances right in front. I just need to dig deep to try to be more consistent with my game plan. Try to challenge the shooter, then they pass, and sometimes you stay back. … As a team … we can be a little bit better, but also I have to be better. Honestly, you're not going to win if I give up six goals."
MEDICAL MATTERS: Coach Jon Cooper said Thursday that there was no update on D Matt Carle, who left midway through the first period Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. "Day to day," Cooper said. If Carle can't play tonight, rookie D Nikita Nesterov will likely fill in.
BOUNCE BACK: RW Nikita Kucherov was the hero Wednesday with the overtime winner, but he blamed himself for the game even getting to OT. He said he was in good position but failed to properly defend Rangers D Dan Boyle, who poked a rebound past G Ben Bishop to tie the score at 5 with 1:56 left in regulation. "It was my mistake," Kucherov said. "I didn't see the puck. I should have probably boxed him out, but I didn't. I've got to learn from it."