The New York Rangers took Game 1 of the East Final over the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 6-2. The back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions had the advantage of rest but couldn’t take the first game in Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts continue to roll in the 2o22 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Making the series 2-0 will not be an easy feat, though. Over the past three postseasons, including this year, the Lightning have not lost a single game following a loss in 17 tries. Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said that he doesn’t think much of that stat because they didn’t play the Rangers in those games. He said that it won’t affect the next game at all.
Amazing stat: @TBLightning are 17-0 since the start of the 2020 playoffs after a loss. @NYRangers Coach, Gerard Gallant – what do you think of that stat? “They didn’t beat us 17 times! It doesn’t affect what we will do tomorrow!” #NYR pic.twitter.com/8XKqFxgXrZ
— Bruce Beck (@BruceBeck4NY) June 2, 2022
The Rangers, the fourth-youngest team in the NHL, have been thriving on the idea that they aren’t supposed to be here. They came back from a 3-1 deficit in the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins and defeated the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.
An outstanding season of goaltending from Igor Shesterkin, strong play from the likes of Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin and plenty of depth — including the emergence of the Kid Line of Filip Chytil, rookie Alexis Lafreniere and second-year player Kaapo Kakko — has the Rangers ready to compete with anyone. Their resilience has been on full display throughout the postseason.
This series will still be a very tough fight. The Lightning can absolutely hold their own against the Rangers in terms of both goalkeeping and have been the more effective team on offense this season. New York will need its very best performances to advance.