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Lightning reach ECF, waiting for Rangers or Capitals

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference Final with a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

The Lightning, who won the second-round series in six games, advanced to the conference final for the third time. The most recent was In 2011, when they lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games.

Tampa Bay will play either the New York Rangers or Washington Capitals. That series will be decided Wednesday in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov scored six goals against the Canadiens. Linemate Tyler Johnson had two goals and five points and leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs with eight goals.

Special teams were a big reason the Lightning advanced. They killed 15 of 16 penalties, and their power play scored on 35 percent of its chances (7-for-20).

The Lightning could be without forward Ryan Callahan, who missed Game 6 after having an appendectomy and is out indefinitely. He has three assists in 12 playoff games.

Callahan, a former Rangers captain, had four goals against New York when Tampa Bay went 3-0-0 in the regular-season series, played in a span of 15 days ending Dec. 1. Forward Steven Stamkos had two goals and seven points; Johnson had two goals and six points.

Goalie Ben Bishop had a 2.34 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in the three wins.

Rangers forward Martin St. Louis, who was traded for Callahan late last season, scored twice against his former team. Forwards Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan each had three assists.

New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist was 0-3-0 with a 4.74 GAA and .823 save percentage.

St. Louis and Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle won the 2004 Stanley Cup with the Lightning.

Two other former Rangers, Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman and forward Brian Boyle, played in last season's Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings, which New York lost in five games.

The Lightning and Rangers have never played each other in the postseason.

The Lightning were 1-2-0 against the Capitals. The nine goals by Tampa Bay were each scored by a different player. Bishop was 1-2-0 with a 3.37 GAA and .899 save percentage.

Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom had three goals and six points; forward Alex Ovechkin had two goals and five points. Goalie Braden Holtby was 2-1-0 with a 3.04 GAA and a .902 save percentage.

The Lightning are 2-0 against Washington in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They defeated the Capitals in six games in the 2003 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and swept them in the conference semifinals in 2011.

Follow David Satriano on Twitter: @davidsatriano

Author: David Satriano | Staff Writer

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