Lightning Win Third Straight and Push Rangers to the Brink
Mikhail Sergachev scored his second goal of the game with 1 minute 50 seconds remaining to break a tie and push the Lightning to a 3-1 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night that gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead in the N.H.L.’s Eastern Conference finals.
In the second period, Sergachev beat Igor Shesterkin from the right point through traffic in front of the net to give the Lightning their first lead of the night.
Brandon Hagel added an empty-net goal with 59 seconds left to seal the Lightning’s third straight win, and the first victory by a road team in this series. Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 24 shots.
Ryan Lindgren scored for the Rangers, who had won eight straight playoff games at home after losing Game 1 of the first round to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Shesterkin finished with 24 saves.
Game 6 is Saturday night in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning won Games 3 and 4 on home ice to tie the series and can now reach their third straight Stanley Cup finals with another win at Amalie Arena.
Vasilevskiy made several sprawling saves midway through the third, stopping attempts by Ryan Strome, Adam Fox and then Lindgren in a 32-second span to keep the score tied at 1-1. Vasilevskiy also caught a shot by Kevin Rooney with about eight minutes left.
Shesterkin made a nice save on a rush by Ondrej Palat two minutes into the second period, and Vasilevskiy made a sliding pad save on Tyler Motte less than a minute later to keep the game scoreless.
Shesterkin then made several nice saves during a Lightning power play, including on a slap shot by Nikita Kucherov 4:14 into the period.
The Rangers got their first power play of the night when the Lightning were called for too many men on the ice about eight minutes into the middle period. They managed two shots during the advantage.
Shortly after the penalty expired, the Rangers opened the scoring when Lindgren fired a shot from the left side over Vasilevskiy’s right shoulder with traffic in front of the net with 9:31 left in the period. It was Lindgren’s second goal of the postseason.
After a Lightning turnover, Motte fired a long shot that was gloved and smothered by Vasilevskiy with just under three minutes left to keep it a one-goal game.
Just 30 seconds later, Sergachev tied it from the blue line with a shot through traffic for his first goal this postseason with 2:26 to go.
The Rangers had forwards Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil in the starting lineup. Strome missed Game 4 with a lower-body injury he sustained in the previous game. Chytil left Tuesday night’s game just past the midpoint of the second period after a hit by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.
The Lightning were without forward Brayden Point, who has a lower-body injury, for a ninth straight game. He has not played since he was injured in Game 7 of the first round against Toronto.