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Feisty Rangers shut down Lightning in brutal Game 1 loss

A feisty Rangers squad came ready to play and unleashed an onslaught on offense to take Game 1 against the Lightning with ease. In what was supposed to be a battle of two of the league’s best goaltenders became the opposite. Lightning looked like they were not ready for an eager Rangers team despite having a longer break. As the game went on, Lightning played more desperate which caused sloppy play on both ends of the ice. Rangers came to play and showed that defeating them would not be an easy task.

 

A pair of quick goals

To start off, Rangers wasted no time testing a rested Lightning team. A turnover by the Bolts defense allowed New York to net an early goal. Mika Zibanejad fed Chris Kreider the puck that Andrei Vasilevskiy had no chance in saving. Afterwards, an expected defensive battle played out between the two teams. However, Tampa later on answered back the early goal to even the score. Steven Stamkos rifled a slap shot that passed Igor Shesterkin to tie the game 1-1.

Defenses rise up

Then, the offense from both teams went cold as the battle of the goaltenders resumed. Rangers kept the pressure coming but Vasy remained calm to keep the game tied. Next, with 3:11 to go Rangers went on the power play after Brandon Hagel was called for holding. As expected, Lightning continued their penalty kill dominance and the period ended with no further goals scored.

Rangers regain the lead

Once again, defense on both sides went hard at work as the tempo went up. Clearly, the Rangers showed no signs of fatigue after playing in a Game 7 just a few nights before. Momentum seemed to be on Tampa’s side as they controlled the puck well for the first half of period 2. Unfortunately, momentum switched to the home team after Frank Vatrano gave the Rangers the 2-1 lead. His shot beat Vasilevskiy up high glove side and that fired up the crowd at MSG.

Feisty Rangers offense

In response, Lightning again hushed the crowed and tied up the game yet again. Ondrej Palat scored a slick backhand goal to tie the game 2-2. Again, Rangers quickly re-took the lead from a shot by Filip Chytil that slipped past Vasilevskiy. Rangers offense continued to be feisty and do their best to catch the Bolts defense off guard. Lightning looked flustered and New York continuously took advantage of that. Goals kept coming for the Rangers as Chytil scored again to extend the Rangers lead 4-2. Heading into the 3rd period New York looked to take total control of the game as they stole the show for the entire 2nd period.

Lightning cannot find life

Feisty play of the Rangers continued as they scored 30 seconds into the period. Artemi Panarin extended the lead 5-2 as it was a night the Lightning would like to forget. Lightning would head to their first power play of the night, but it was killed off without issue. Afterwards, Rangers went on the power play for the second time looking to score again in the process. They would do just that as Zibanejad scored on the man advantage to give the Rangers a whopping 6-2 lead. Then, Lightning received another power play opportunity while the team looked lifeless on the ice.

Onward to Game 2

Lightning were unable to get anything going on the man advantage as New York took total control of the game. Flustered, Tampa made simple mistakes as there was no chance to try and crawl back into the game. A scrum occurred with over a minute to go that saw 7 total players tossed from the game. It was only a matter of time before tempers flared. To summarize, Rangers dominated the game from top to bottom and looked like the better team in a 6-2 Game 1 victory. Tampa will look to bounce back in Game 2 on Friday night as the Rangers lead the series 1-0.

 

Three Stars of the Game

1st Star: Filip Chytil – 2 goals

2nd Star: Frank Vatrano – 1 goal and 1 assist

3rd Star: Mika Zibanejad – 1 goal and 1 assist

 

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