Rangers top Lighting 3-2 for commanding lead in NHL East final

·1-min read

The New York Rangers beat the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Friday to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven NHL Eastern Conference final.

K'Andre Miller, Kaapo Kakko and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers and goalie Igor Shesterkin stopped 29 shots as the Rangers notched their eighth straight home victory.

They ended the Lightning's streak of 17 straight post-season victories following a defeat -- a run that stretched back to 2020 and was a key to their Stanley Cup title runs the past two seasons.

Zibanejad put the Rangers up 3-1 just 82 seconds into the third period, powering to the net after Nikita Kucherov's casual clear attempt from the blue line was intercepted by Barclay Goodrow.

Zibanejad's wrist shot beat Andrei Vasilevskiy above his blocker, giving him a ninth goal of the playoffs.

Kucherov had given Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 2:41 of the opening period.

Miller tied it at 5:59 with a shot from a rebound after his first attempt was blocked by Brandon Hagel.

Kakko put New York up 2-1 at 17:32 of the first, deflecting a pass from Adam Fox past Vasilevskiy.

Nick Paul added a goal for the Lightning with 2:03 remaining, but the defending champions head home to Tampa for game three needing to regroup in their fight for a Stanley Cup Final berth.

bb/dhc

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