NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop did his part to keep his team in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden, but two unlucky bounces ended up being the difference in a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.
Bishop made 21 saves to keep the game scoreless in the opening 39:47. But with 13 seconds remaining in the second period, Bishop's stick was knocked out of his hands by Rangers forward Chris Kreider, who took a shot from in close that was blocked. The rebound went right to Derek Stepan at the left side of the net, and he roofed a shot to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
"There was some contact, battling in front, and I lost it and then I don't know if [the puck] went off of the stick or off of somebody and then [Stepan] was right there," said Bishop, who also said he didn't think he was interfered with on the play.
Tampa Bay tied the game 6:45 in the third period on a power-play goal by Ondrej Palat, but Rangers forward Dominic Moore was in the right place at the right time when Kevin Hayes threw a puck at the net with 2:35 remaining in regulation. The puck hit Moore's leg and went past Bishop to give the Rangers the win and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
"I thought we played a good third period and just kind of looking like that was going to be the way it was won, a fluky goal," Bishop said. "They throw it at the net and it hits off of [Moore's] leg and goes in. It's one of those things you can't do much about."
Bishop would like to have each of those goals back, but his teammates credited him for keeping them in the game, especially when the Lightning were giving up a lot of chances in the first and second period.
"I thought he played excellent," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "He really held on the fort there in the first period. He played well the whole game I thought."
Goalie - TBL
GAA: 1.82 | SVP: .931
Bishop faced 30 shots. New York had also had 17 shots blocked and 14 that missed the net.
He saw how well Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals played in the second round against the Rangers and knows he will have to be at his best in order to win games with Henrik Lundqvist manning the other net.
"Just try to keep your team in the game as long as possible," Bishop said. "Just kind of an unfortunate bounce late in the game and they take Game 1."
Bishop is 8-6 with a 1.82 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in the playoffs. Lundqvist is 9-4 with a 1.56 GAA and a .945 save percentage.
"He gave us a chance to win the game," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "Tough to see a lucky bounce like that go in. But we need him to play that way and we have to be better."
Game 2 is at Madison Square Garden on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).