The New York Rangers face elimination for the sixth time in these playoffs after they were unable to keep home-ice advantage in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at MSG.
The New York Rangers find themselves in a familiar situation after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1, on Thursday night. For the sixth time in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, they face elimination.
For a glimpse of a moment, it looked as if the Rangers would take a 2-1 lead with 5:48 left in the third period when center Ryan Strome had a pass by Andrew Copp come to him but he was unable to handle the pass and a glorious opportunity to win the game slid under his stick.
The Lightning’s Ondrej Palat then scored on a deflection of Mikhail Sergachev’s wrist shot into traffic from the right point at 18:10 of the third period and Tampa Bay found a way to take a 3-1 win back to Tampa Bay now one win from their third consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Lack Of Scoring
Even strength scoring has been non-existent for the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals since Game 2 of the series. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren scored his second goal of the playoffs in the second period to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead.
It was the team’s first five-on-five goal since Artemi Panarin scored in the third period 30 seconds into the final session.
Not one Ranger player on the four offensive lines has scored a five-on-five goal in nine periods.
Forget the bad ref calls, at the end of the day @NYRangers face elimination because not a single forward player has scored an even Strength goal since the 3rd period of Game 2. Can’t win games like that #NoQuitInNY
— RangerProud/Frank Curto (@RangerProud) June 10, 2022
The Rangers have been guilty of being too slow when they have the puck, and lack any sustainable forecheck when they are in the Lightning end of the ice.
Over-passing has been the team’s public enemy number one over the last nine periods. Tampa’s goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has played very well after a rusty start. He is playing so well that the Rangers seem to think they can’t beat him straight on and believe they need to get him moving post to post for any chance to score a goal.
“I think you can always say in a game you can get more, but the chances were there,” defenseman Jacob Trouba said. “The goalie made some good saves. It was a tight game, could go either way, and that’s what makes it more frustrating for us, I think. It’s not like we’re getting the doors blown off us. We’re in these games. We’re right there.”
Played Well Enough To Win
Despite the lack of scoring, the Rangers played well enough to win. Unfortunately, this was the second game of the series where the team could not hold a third-period lead and lost the contest in the closing minutes of the third period.
Coach Gallant liked what he saw in Game 5 after a disappointing Game 4 result.
“I thought we played well, well enough to win, and it didn’t go our way.” Gallant went on to say, “We played a sound hockey game, it’s tough to lose like that at the end.”
In order to win this series now, it will take wins in both Game 6 on the road and a potential Game 7 at the Garden on Tuesday night.
This team has shown it can overcome everything thrown its way all season. The road to the Finals is much harder than a week ago, but it’s something they can accomplish.
Follow Frank Curto on Twitter at @RangerProud