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Conference final: Lightning-Rangers Game 1 live updates

Three goals in an eight-minute span of the second period sink Tampa Bay in the opener of the East final.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on as the New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20), in center, celebrates his team’s first goal of the second period scored by center Frank Vatrano (77)  as the Rangers go up 2-1 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 in New York City. The Rangers went on to score two more second period goals.
Published Jun. 1|Updated Jun. 2

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Three goals in an eight-minute span of the second period lifted the Rangers to a 6-2 victory over the Lightning Wednesday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final at Madison Square Garden.

With its seventh straight home playoff win, New York snapped Tampa Bay’s six-game winning streak and will take a 1-0 lead into Game 2 Friday in New York City.

Frank Vatrano started the second-period surge, and Filip Chytil scored twice as the Rangers turned a 1-1 tie into a 4-2 advantage. Only an Ondrej Palat goal 42 seconds after Vatrano’s score broke up the Rangers’ momentum, however briefly.

Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad added goals in the third period, extending New York’s advantage to 6-2.

The Rangers’ Chris Kreider and Lightning’s Steven Stamkos exchanged goals in the first period, which ended with the teams tied at 1.

Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed six goals on 34 shots. New York’s Igor Shesterkin stopped 37 of 39 Lightning attempts.

Here’s how it happened:

Third period

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), right, falls to the ice as teammates center Steven Stamkos (91), top, and defenseman Victor Hedman (77) look on after a second-period goal by the Rangers.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), right, falls to the ice as teammates center Steven Stamkos (91), top, and defenseman Victor Hedman (77) look on after a second-period goal by the Rangers. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

RANGERS GOAL: Artemi Panarin scores from the left circle 30 seconds into the period after a Lightning turnover in the neutral zone. Rangers 5, Lightning 2.

Justin Braun penalized for tripping Ross Colton, giving the Lightning their first power play

Nikita Kucherov slap shot saved by Igor Shesterkin

Corey Perry wrist shot saved by Shesterkin

Shesterkin shaken up after being hit by Steven Stamkos stick

Kucherov wrist shot saved by Shesterkin

Rangers kill the Braun penalty

Alex Killorn penalized for holding Artemi Panarin

Mika Zibanejad shot from left circle saved by Vasilevskiy

RANGERS GOAL: Zibanejad scores on a blast from the left circle. Rangers 6, Lightning 2.

K’Andre Miller penalized for holding Stamkos

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Rangers kill the Miller penalty. Lightning got one shot on goal

Brandon Hagel shoved down Barclay Goodrow along the boards

Vasilevskiy makes save on Ryan Strome

Corey Perry tip goes wide

Kucherov misses net from the slot

(Rangers win 6-2, lead series 1-0)

Second period

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) stops a shot by Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the first period.
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) stops a shot by Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the first period. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Jacob Trouba shot blocked by Nick Paul

Nikita Kucherov shot blocked by Trouba

Frank Vatrano hits Ryan McDonagh

Adam Fox shot blocked by McDonagh

Braden Schneider one-timer saved by Andrei Vasilevskiy

Trouba falls down, leading to a breakaway for the Lightning. Frank Vatrano hustles back to tip Anthony Cirelli pass away from Ondej Palt

Ross Colton wraparound saved by Igor Shesterkin

Tyler Motte wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

RANGERS GOAL: Vatrano snaps a shot over Vasilevskiy’s blocker from the slot after a misplay from Stamkos above the circles. Rangers 2, Lightning 1.

Hedman hits the goal post

Ryan Strome shot on 2-on-1 saved by Vasilevskiy

LIGHTNING GOAL! Ondrej Palat scores on a rebound. Lightning 2, Rangers 2.

RANGERS GOAL: Filip Chytil puts New York back ahead after Erik Cernak loses track of him low in the left circle. Rangers 3, Lightning 2.

Vasilevskiy makes glove save on Zibanejad shot from the slot

Killorn shot from the slot stopped by Shesterkin

Kakko shot turned aside by Vasilevskiy

RANGERS GOAL: Filip Chytil scores from the right circle after K’Andre Miller pass through the seam. Shortly beforehand, Alex Killorn was unable to get the puck out of the zone. Rangers 4, Lightning 2.

Quick Kucherov shot from the right circle saved by Shesterkin

Rangers 4, Lightning 2 after two periods

First period

Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian (24) is seen on the ice during warmups.
Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian (24) is seen on the ice during warmups. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

RANGERS GOAL: Chris Kreider scores stickside from left circle off feed from Mika Zibanejad, who beat Nikita Kucherov down the ice after a long stretch pass. 1:11 into the game. Rangers 1, Lightning 0.

Jan Rutta slap shot saved by Igor Shesterskin

Four minutes into the game, each team has a single shot

Anthony Cirelli wrist shot saved by Shesterskin

Kaapo Kakko wrist shot saved by Andrei Vasilevskiy

Victor Hedman shoots wide of the net

Ryan McDonagh knocks down Artemi Panarin

Hedman shot saved by Shesterkin

Ross Colton and Frank Vatrano get in each other’s faces after a skirmish in front of the Ranger net that started when Corey Perry got his stick up high on Shesterkin

Mikhail Sergachev shot blocked by Barclay Goodrow

LIGHTNING GOAL! Steven Stamkos blasts a slap shot past Shesterkin high on the stick side from the high slot after a set up from Jan Rutta. The play started with a strong forecheck from Stamkos, who forced a Barclay Goodrow turnover, trapping New York in its own zone. Lightning 1, Rangers 1.

Shesterkin stops Kucherov tip after give-and-go with Alex Killorn

Kucherov misses wide after backhand pass through the slot from Nick Paul

Kucherov shot from right circle saved by Shesterkin

Frank Vatrano wraparound attempt saved by Vasilevskiy

Hand pass brings the puck out of the Lightning zone after a couple of shifts of sustained pressure from the Rangers

Kucherov bad-angle shot goes through the slot

Shesterkin swallows Kucherov shot from low in left circle

Shesterkin saves backhand attempt by Stamkos

Kreider blocks Erik Cernak shot from the high slot

Brandon Hagel penalized for holding Filip Chytil

Zibanejad slap shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Paul wraparound shot saved by Shesterkin

Trouba one-timer blocked by Sergachev

Andrew Copp shot hits Vasilevskiy in the shoulder

Lightning kill the Hagel penalty

Trouba shot hits Cirelli’s skate

Tyler Motte wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Adam Fox shoots wide from the right circle off the rush

Lightning 1, Rangers 1 after one period

Pregame scouting report

New York Rangers center Jonny Brodzinski (76) gets around Lightning center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) during a game in March in Tampa.
New York Rangers center Jonny Brodzinski (76) gets around Lightning center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) during a game in March in Tampa. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | Associated Press ]

The Lightning have laid bare their blueprint. Or, as head coach Jon Cooper likes to call it, their recipe.

Stick to their structure. Take care of their own end first. Control the neutral zone. Wait for their chances. Sacrifice individual wants (not to mention their bodies) for the good of the team.

Do it night after night, 16 times over a span of a possible 28 games, and history is your reward: a chance to become the first team to win the Stanley Cup three years in a row since the Islanders won four in a row from 1980-83.

It’s no secret. For all of their offensive firepower, defense has been the key to the Lightning’s back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.

Related: Ross Colton’s ‘disdain’ for the Rangers runs deep

But whether they haven’t been paying attention, are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices or simply can’t match Tampa Bay’s will to win, no other team to this point seems to have taken the lessons to heart.

Which is why the Lightning now find themselves halfway through what they hope will be a third consecutive title run while teams that finished with considerably better regular-season records are watching from home.

Offensively, the Rangers are the least impressive of the three teams the Lightning have faced so far in the playoffs. But they have exhibited some of the traits that have helped Tampa Bay to sustained postseason success: resilience, a commitment to team defense and world-class goaltending.

Like the Lightning, who rallied from 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 deficits to beat the Maple Leafs in the opening round, the Rangers came back from 3-1 and 2-0 down to oust the Penguins and Hurricanes, respectively, in the first two rounds.

Of the four teams still standing, Tampa Bay (2.46) and New York (3.00, tied with Colorado) rank first and second in fewest goals-against per game.

And while there is only one Andrei Vasilevskiy, the greatest goaltender of his generation, Vezina and Hart Trophy finalist Igor Shesterkin will be the toughest goalie the Lightning have faced so far this postseason.

Related: These 5 Rangers could be a problem for the Lightning

The Eastern Conference final has all the makings of a great series, if not a high-scoring one.

But then, if offense won championships, the Maple Leafs and Panthers still would be playing.

Can the Lightning, who have won six consecutive postseason games and 10 straight playoff series entering tonight’s game, add the Rangers to their list of vanquished foes?

Follow our live updates, starting at 8 p.m., as they hope to take the first step tonight in Game 1.

Game night scene

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