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Lightning solve Lundqvist, hand Rangers their first blowout loss

Lightning Rangers Hockey

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) is congratulated by teammates after scoring his third goal of the game against the New York Rangers during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Monday, May 18, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


The New York Rangers found the back of the net twice in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final tonight. That level of offensive production has been the norm for the Rangers in the 2015 playoffs and its gotten them this far, but it wasn’t nearly enough tonight.

After doing a good job of shutting down the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in their previous series, the Rangers couldn’t contain Tampa Bay’s forwards tonight as it suffered a 6-2 loss to the Lightning. This is the first time the Rangers have lost by more than a goal in the 2015 postseason.

Part of the issue is that Tampa Bay has more offensive depth than the Rangers’ previous opponents, Pittsburgh or Washington, even if all three teams have star power. Containing Steven Stamkos isn’t easy nor is it enough as Tyler Johnson has proven that he’s more than capable of leading the charge. He already had eight goals in 14 games going into tonight’s contest and Johnson added to that by earning the first hat trick in Lightning playoff history.

With Tampa Bay up 3-2 early in the third period, Alex Killorn provided the squad with some insurance after receiving a beautiful pass from Victor Hedman:

Stamkos accounted for Tampa Bay’s fifth goal roughly three minutes later. He now has 12 points in 15 games, which would make him the scoring leader in New York, but its only good to put him in a tie for third place with the Lightning. The player he’s tied with is Killorn, who added his second goal of the game with just over two minutes remaining.

This is the most goals Henrik Lundqvist has surrendered in the 2015 playoffs to date. At the other end of the ice, Ben Bishop wasn’t perfect, but he did make plenty of key saves en route to turning aside 35 of 37 shots.

Tampa Bay has now evened the series at 1-1 and put the Rangers in a position where they have to win at least one game in Amalie Arena. New York will get its first opportunity to do that in Game 3 on Wednesday.

Follow @RyanDadoun