Tampa Bay Lightning
Resilience is key in the NHL playoffs. The Lightning showed it in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, and now it’s the Rangers’ turn to respond yet again.
“It’s embarrassing,” McDonagh said. “There (are) a lot of things you want to say right now, but talking doesn’t do much.”
Following Game 2, Vigneault made it clear that he believes the Rangers will turn the page quickly. After all, this team has done so throughout their entire playoff run and since Vigneault took charge last season.
Tyler Johnson scored the first hat trick in Lightning playoff history and Tampa Bay got its high-scoring offense in gear and evened the Eastern Conference finals.
In the conference finals, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi have drawn “The Triplets,” instead of the Lightning’s more well-known line featuring star Steven Stamkos. Scratching your head? Don’t.
It hasn’t been the smoothest ride for the Rangers in these playoffs, though it rarely is for any team. But New York remains the best the Eastern Conference has to offer.
Though he skated Thursday and practiced without limitations Friday, Lightning forward Ryan Callahan is officially day-to-day for the opener of the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers.
This is the series that the Rangers have been waiting for all season.
The Bolts dominated the Rangers during the regular season. But that was a long time ago. Let’s take a look at both teams heading into the Eastern Conference finals.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault isn’t ruling out Mats Zuccarello’s return in the Eastern Conference finals.
I don’t care that the Lightning swept their season series against New York. Wasn’t that like … five months ago?
It would seem there are two certainties ahead for the Rangers. First, they will see some very familiar faces in the lineup of their opponent in the Eastern Conference finals. Second, they will play lots of one-goal games.
Peter Laviolette, Jon Cooper, Michel Therrien, Jack Capuano and Alain Vigneault have all done outstanding jobs this season and should be the leading candidates for NHL coach of the year.
John Tavares and Anders Lee scored 12 seconds apart in the third period, after the Islanders had been stymied by Vasilevskiy, and New York stunned the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 with a late comeback Saturday night.
Ryan Callahan scored twice against his former team for the second time in 10 days, and Tampa Bay beat former Lightning captain Martin St. Louis and the New York Rangers 4-3 on Wednesday night.