Rangers aim to compete at a higher level against Lightning in Game 4

Rangers aim to compete at a higher level against Lightning in Game 4

Tampa – The New York Rangers did not enter the Eastern Conference Final in naively belittling the challenge of eliminating the two-time Stanley Cup champion.

They knew it would be difficult.

Now they know how long the task will be.

The Rangers won games 1 and 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at home, but were outgunned and lost 3-2 in Game 3 at the Amalie Arena on Sunday. They’re leading the best of 7 series 2-1 before Game 4 here Tuesday (8PM ET; ESPN, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).

“We know they’re not going to give you anything for nothing,” coach Gerard Gallant said on Monday. “They won, what, 10 series in a row? We have to take it from them. We will have a really good team. We will have to go out there and take them.”

Rangers’ experience with the late team in each of the first two rounds gave them an idea of ​​how difficult it was to push lightning in Game 3.

[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Lightning series coverage]

But they weren’t ready to match it.

The Lightning outperformed the Rangers 52-30, including 19-6 in the third period. Rangers built a 2-0 lead midway through the second half based on power play goals Mika Zibanjad And the Chris Criederbut that only angered the lightning even more.

Tampa Bay tied the match with strong goals from Nikita Kucherov And the Stephen Stamkos and won it Ondrej BalatThe goal at 19:18 of the third half.

“I think they were ready to compete more aggressively than we were,” Gallant said. “That was the difference in hockey. You could say competition, you could say different things, but overall I think their level of competition was a little bit higher than ours. We have to match that tomorrow, beat it.”

Once again, Rangers should know exactly what to expect from Lightning in Game 4 because they were in this position 3-1 behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the Eastern Conference and 2-0 against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second.

They were resilient, winning games 5, 6 and 7 against Pittsburgh, all in a new style. They returned to tie the series against Carolina, losing Game 5 in their worst performance in the series, but rebounded to win games 6 and 7 with an aggregate of 11-4.

“We have to compete, we have to fight, we have to play sadder than we played,” Gallant said. “It’s 2-2 or 3-1, let’s see where it goes.”

To make it 3-1, the Rangers can’t let Lightning get a disc like they did in Game 3.

The Rangers dominated all match 1 and won 6-2 because they had a disc and were forced to turn when they didn’t. They dominated at least the first half of Game 2 for the same reasons.

Video: Lightning win the power duel in Game 3, 3-2

Lightning started to control pace and possession better as well, midway through the second period of Match 2, but the Rangers got a goal from Zibanejad 1:21 in the third to take a 3-1 lead. He did not give up, and eventually won 3-2.

But Lightning never stopped attacking in Game 3 and pushed the Rangers back. New York’s 2-0 lead lasted 66 seconds because Kucherov scored at 10:50 of the second half. Rangers took a 2-1 lead, not exceeding 1:22 of the third game when Stamkos scored.

The score was 2-2 at the next 17:56, but it felt like lightning was taking over. They had an imp. They were playing in the attack zone. They generate opportunities. Rangers couldn’t do anything offensively, including when they played strong in the third inning.

Rangers striker Andrew Cope He said. “I don’t know if we were trying to play defensively. I don’t think that was the talk at all. We know the third goal is going to be kind of important like in Game 2, but once they get the [tying] Target we couldn’t make ourselves head north and attack.”

This is what they know they have to do right from the start in Game 4. And that’s what they did to get back against the Penguins and Hurricanes.

If they can do it again, they will put themselves in a position to leave here one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final with a chance to do so in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, where they have won eight playoffs in a row. .

But that’s Lightning, a two-time Stanley Cup champion. Pressing them and preventing them from returning may be the Rangers’ biggest challenge to date, perhaps even greater than facing a five-time elimination in the first two rounds.

“You don’t want to give a team like this any breathing space,” Forward Ryan Reeves Lightning said. “You should bury it when you can.”

2022-06-06 22:27:41

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