NEW YORK — Scoring goals made the Tampa Bay Lightning one of the NHL’s most entertaining teams this season. Playing defense for the first time in three games has them within a victory of the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in franchise history.
Steven Stamkos set up Valtteri Filppula’s go-ahead goal and scored another, and the Lightning pushed the New York Rangers to the brink of playoff elimination with 2-0 victory Sunday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The shutout came after the Lightning gave up five goals in each of the past two games and allowed New York to score two power-plays goals in each of the last three games.
This was a total shutdown of the league’s best team in the regular season.
“If we’re going to have any chance of winning, that’s how we have to do it,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “And you look at the way sometimes you get caught up, and we did, judging our game on how many scoring chances we get; and really you should judge your game on how many you give up.”
Ben Bishop, who gave up all 10 goals in the previous two games, had 26 saves in posting his second shutout and getting Tampa Bay within a win of returning to the finals for the first time since 2004.
Game 6 is Tuesday night in Florida.
This isn’t the first time the Rangers have been on the edge of seeing their Presidents’ Trophy-winning season come to an end. They trailed the Washington Capitals 3-1 in the conference semifinals and rallied. They also overcame a 3-1 deficit last year against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We just have to go down there and play confident, play our best game and try to get the win,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images