TAMPA — The Lightning entered Friday with a 2-1 series lead largely because its stars outshined New York's top scorers.
That changed quickly and dramatically in Game 4, when Rick Nash scored the first goal and former Lightning captain Marty St. Louis added his first of the playoffs to help seal the Rangers' 5-1 win. The duo had more goals Friday (three) than it did in New York's first 15 playoff games combined (two).
"We need everyone going, for sure," St. Louis said.
Especially two of their top offensive threats.
Nash had 42 regular-season goals — only Steven Stamkos and Washington's Alex Ovechkin had more — but he had been quiet in the playoffs. He entered Friday fourth on his team with five postseason points, yet none in the Eastern Conference final.
The six-time All-Star broke out of his slump late in the first period after skating past Cedric Paquette. He slid across the middle, putting the puck off the post and goalie Ben Bishop's skate and into the net. Nash added another goal with 8:27 left, poking a rebound past Bishop for New York's sixth power-play goal in the past three games.
"You've got to work for your opportunities," Nash said. "It's the playoffs. Everything is tight."
Things were tight for St. Louis, too.
After trailing only Nash with 21 regular-season goals, he had been shut out in the postseason and was minus-1 through the playoffs entering Game 4.
"The games keep piling on, you get chances — of course you're pressing," said St. Louis, who spent 13 years with the Lightning before asking for a trade last season. "The guys who tell you they don't press, they're lying."
But St. Louis stayed disciplined and tried to affect the game in other ways until his luck changed in the third period. He fired a one-timer on a power play with 14:52 left to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead.
The 39-year-old celebrated his 42nd career playoff goal with a massive fist pump. The Amalie Arena crowd responded with a chorus of boos.
St. Louis didn't say whether any of his joy came from the opponent or the arena. But after going 18 games without a goal, he said he was just happy to put one in the net, especially a timely one that helped tie the series at two games apiece.
"Sometimes you get rewarded," St. Louis said. "Tonight, I did."
Contact Matt Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.