Only four teams remain in the NHL postseason. The conference finals have begun, as the battle for the Stanley Cup nears its climax.
In the Eastern Conference final, the New York Rangers are facing the Tampa Bay Lightning.
During the regular season, the Lightning went undefeated against the Rangers.
Currently, the Tampa Bay Lightning hold a 2-1 series lead after their win in game three May 20.
The Rangers took the first game at home in a close, tightly defended contest, winning 2-1.
Derek Stepan, responsible for the winning goal in game seven against the Washington Capitals in the previous round, and Dominic Moore scored for the Rangers.
Ondrej Palat recorded the lone goal for the Lightning.
In game two, the teams looked completely different.
Tampa Bay came alive and dominated New York, punishing the Rangers in their own zone while New York looked sloppy and undisciplined. The final score was 6-2. The Lightning’s Tyler Johnson recorded a hat trick in the victory, continuing a blisteringly productive postseason.
The game remained close through the second period, but Tampa Bay ran away with it in the third period, scoring three unanswered goals to
bury the Rangers.
When the series moved to Tampa Bay for the third game, the Lightning looked to keep their momentum and offensive domination, while the Rangers needed to return to the play that got them to the Eastern Conference final.
In the third contest, the Lightning continued their steamrolling offensive performance, but this time the Rangers fought back.
After Tampa Bay jumped out to a 4-2 lead, the Rangers responded and evened the ledger with two goals of their own. The teams traded goals in the third period, and in overtime, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov ended the back-and-forth contest with the team’s sixth goal of the evening.
Game four takes place on May 22 at 8 p.m. in Tampa Bay, with the Lightning holding a 2-1 advantage.
The other two teams fighting it out over on the Western Conference side of the bracket, to make it to the Stanley Cup finals, are the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks. Through two contests, the series is tied 1-1, and a lot of great hockey has been played.
Game one went to the Ducks when Anaheim shocked the Hawks, scoring four goals to Chicago’s one. Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen was a brick wall for Anaheim, recording 33 saves in the victory and keeping the explosiveness of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in check.
The second game of the series was an extremely close contest, going into three overtime periods May 19.
Eventually, Chicago’s Marcus Kruger scored to give the Hawks the victory. The final score, after more than 116 minutes of play, was 3-2. Chicago netminder Corey Crawford recorded 60 saves in the victory.
The rest of the series is going to be tough and challenging for both teams. With both teams playing at such a high level, the series could either way.
As the Stanley Cup Championships nears, discussion and predictions have begun for the winner of the Conn
The trophy is awarded to the most valuable player for his team in the playoffs. It is presented at the conclusion of the final game of the championship in mid-June.
Possible winners include the Ducks’ center forward Ryan Kesler and right winger Corey Perry; the Hawks’ defenseman Duncan Keith, center forward Toews and right winger Kane; the Lightning’s center forward Johnson; and the Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist.