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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 1:06 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Lightning excited for Game 7 opportunity vs. Rangers

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from the Stanley Cup Final. They know what's at stake: Win and move on, or lose and go home.

The New York Rangers are treating Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) as just another game. After all, they've won 15 of 18 elimination games since the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But the Lightning have a different opinion.

Posted On Tuesday, 05.26.2015 / 1:00 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Lundqvist at best when Rangers face elimination

TAMPA -- Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist thrives when the New York Rangers are on the brink of elimination. He's arguably the biggest reason why several teams have been unable to finish the job when they have the Rangers on the ropes.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the latest team to be this position entering Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

In the past 17 games when the Rangers have faced elimination, Lundqvist has won 14 of them. He has a 1.39 goals-against average, a .956 save percentage and two shutouts. In the past two seasons, he's helped New York erase 3-1 series deficits twice.

Tuesday, he could be the determining factor as the Rangers try to force a Game 7, which would be played Friday at Madison Square Garden.

"Every year you learn about yourself, about the game, and then you bring it with you," Lundqvist said Tuesday morning. "When you're in different situations, you use your experience to how to approach the game and how to prepare. A lot of these games come down to preparation and being in the right place mentally. You just go out and play your best game. A lot of it is just being in the right place mentally. Everybody works extremely hard at this time of the year and there are a lot of great players. It comes down to having the right mindset and the belief that you can do it."

Posted On Monday, 05.25.2015 / 7:48 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Rangers focused on task at hand, not elimination

TAMPA -- The New York Rangers have been at their best over the past several years when their backs are against the wall.

That will be the case against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). The Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and can eliminate the Rangers with a win.

The Rangers have won each of the past six games which have either been Game 6 or Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Playoff series, dating to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Philadelphia Flyers last season. New York has allowed seven goals over those six games and are 8-1 in Game 6 or Game 7 since the start of the 2013 postseason.

"I just think our group, we just go out and play," Rangers center Derek Stepan said at the team's hotel on Monday. "We find a way to get it done. We don't really panic, we don't really find anything to get down on ourselves. We play confident; we stick to the keys that let us be successful during the year."

Posted On Friday, 05.22.2015 / 1:04 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Rangers don't want to trade chances with Lightning

TAMPA -- The New York Rangers have shown tremendous ability to respond after back-to-back losses.

That's why there still is plenty of confidence throughout their dressing room heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), when they'll attempt to even this best-of-7 series at two games apiece.

After winning Game 1 by a 2-1 score, the Rangers have allowed 12 goals during the past two games. They rallied from a 4-2 deficit in Game 3 on Wednesday but lost 6-5 in overtime.

Posted On Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 1:55 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Lightning's Callahan feels better, wants to play better

TAMPA -- Hockey became secondary the night of May 11, when Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan was sent to the hospital because of abdominal pain. An emergency appendectomy was required.

Three days later, Callahan was on the ice at practice. He's played all three games of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers, a best-of-7 series the Lightning lead 2-1 following a 6-5 overtime win in Game 3 on Wednesday.

Game 4 is at Amalie Arena on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I feel good," Callahan said after a brief skate Thursday. "It gets better each day. As of now I'm good. I'm ready."

Posted On Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 1:03 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Lundqvist allows six goals for second straight game

TAMPA -- Prior to the start of the Eastern Conference Final, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers hadn't seen the Tampa Bay Lightning since Dec. 1.

Tampa Bay swept the three-game, regular-season series, outscoring the Rangers 15-7. But that was so long ago, there was little reason to believe it would mean much in the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The belief grew stronger when New York opened the series with a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden last Saturday. Lundqvist made 23 saves in the victory.

Since then, he's allowed 12 goals on 66 shots. With a 6-5 overtime loss in Game 3 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, he became the first Rangers goalie to allow six goals in back-to-back playoff games since Gump Worsley in 1958, according to Elias Sports Bureau.


Posted On Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 1:09 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Rangers' St. Louis eager to break out of slump

TAMPA -- More than a month has passed since New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis scored a goal.

It's a trend that likely needs to change if the Rangers are going to return to the Stanley Cup Final, and a scoring boost they could use in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against St. Louis' former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

St. Louis scored 21 goals in 74 regular-season games, but he's come up empty through 14 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He hasn't scored since April 6 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Rangers managed to get through the first two rounds against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals without a goal from St. Louis. He has six assists this postseason, two of which came in a 6-2 loss in Game 2 against Tampa Bay on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

"I look at last game, the last two games, the first couple of shifts I get a chance in front of the goalie," St. Louis said Wednesday morning. "I don't know. When you don't have that swagger, sometimes you rush things and those are great chances. On the power play, a couple of tips … [if] we end up scoring on them … sometimes when things go your way, those find the back of the net."

Posted On Monday, 04.27.2015 / 11:52 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Capitals-Islanders series blog

Islanders eager to take next step by winning Game 7

WASHINGTON -- Josh Bailey was one of the first pieces of the New York Islanders' rebuild when he was selected ninth at the 2008 NHL Draft.

It's been a bumpy road for the Islanders for the majority of that stretch, including a 30th-place finish in Bailey's rookie season that allowed New York to select John Tavares with the first pick in 2009.

But with a win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC), the Islanders can finally take a huge step forward.

"People are going to look at it certain ways and spin things different ways, but really we're just focusing on it as a chance to move on to the second round," Bailey said. "It's not been easy to this point and it's not going to be easy tonight. We're not really thinking about anything else other than going in prepared and ready to go for a big Game 7."

Posted On Sunday, 04.26.2015 / 7:07 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Capitals-Islanders series blog

Islanders could have lineup changes for Game 7

WASHINGTON -- The New York Islanders did what they had to do Saturday, when they extended their Eastern Conference First Round series with a 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum.

Now they must win a Game 7 at Verizon Center on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC) in order to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1993.

Home teams are 91-65 in Game 7, but were 1-6 a year ago. Either way, Islanders coach Jack Capuano isn't interested.

"I don't believe in momentum or pressure too much," Capuano said Sunday. "I think that we've got a relentless bunch of guys in here, and I've said that from Day One. We've got a lot of character and leadership. Our guys have done a great job holding each other accountable. For me, we're going into Game 7. If you asked me before the series, we'd take it."

Posted On Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 8:15 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Capitals-Islanders series blog

Islanders get solid effort from two young defensemen

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- With their season on the line Saturday and their blue line depleted because of injuries, the New York Islanders played two defensemen who did not have a game of Stanley Cup Playoff experience between them.

Matt Donovan, a healthy scratch for most of the regular season, and Scott Mayfield, who spent the season with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League, replaced injured defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky and Calvin de Haan and helped the Islanders avoid elimination with a 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Nassau Coliseum.

"The main objective was to not get scored on, and me and Scotty did that," Donovan said. "I think we played well together."

Mayfield said, "It was really special to play in that game and just hear the crowd and everything, it was a lot of fun."

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