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Lightning hope to pressure Rangers more in Game 2

by Dan Rosen /



New York leads best-of-7 series 1-0

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to put more pressure on the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday than they did in Game 1 in an attempt to even the best-of-7 series before it shifts to Tampa later this week.

The Rangers won Game 1 at Madison Square Garden 2-1 on Dominic Moore's game-winning goal with 2:25 remaining in the third period. New York outshot the Lightning 30-24 and had a 61-50 edge in total shot attempts, including 54-37 at even strength.

The Lightning felt they gave the Rangers some of their opportunities with turnovers.

"The Rangers played extremely well, but we just kept stubbing our toe," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We were just handing them tickets to the movie, wheeling the turnstile and watching them go by. We can't be giving pucks away. We can't be turning them over. We can't not make them go the 200 feet. We've been a puck possession team all year. I'm not sitting here and saying that just replicates and goes into the playoffs, but we've got to be much better than we were. I'm quite convinced we will."

Despite opening each of their series' at home, the Rangers have not been able to take a 2-0 lead in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs yet. They lost Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round and Game 1 against the Washington Capitals in the second round.

The Rangers feel they'll take a 2-0 lead against the Lightning if they put forth a similar effort to the one they had in Game 1.

"We've got to trust our structure," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "When we have close support, even if we get hemmed in our zone or they get an opportunity to put a lick on our guy before we get eyes up or make a breakout pass, if there is a little loose puck there hopefully our close support will be able to jump on that before their guy can get it. We have to trust everybody out there, trust our structure."

Trust has been one of the Rangers' strong suits in the playoffs so far. Every game they've played has been decided by one goal, but they're 9-4, including 7-2 in games decided by a 2-1 score.

The Rangers played only five games decided by a 2-1 score in the regular season; they were 4-0-1. They were 24-7-7 in one-goal games in the regular season.

"You get better at anything you do if you do it a lot," Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis said.

The Lightning feel they're better than they showed in Game 1.

"It was pretty clear that we didn't play up to our standards, definitely not. We didn't manage the puck very well and our forecheck was, not non-existent but not very good either. There's definitely a lot of things we can improve on."

Stralman said the Lightning's play made the Rangers appear faster than they are.

"And they're fast to begin with, so that doesn't really help," Stralman said.

Cooper said Game 1 was a learning experience for the Lightning considering 11 of the 20 players they dressed in Game 1 hadn't won a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before this run to the Conference Final.

"One team played like they've been there before [in Game 1], and the other team played like they hadn't, and that's why ultimately in the end the game turned out and it probably should have turned out that way," Cooper said. "We're learning. Its new experiences for us every step we take in these playoffs, for myself, for our players. And it's just part of the evolution of our team. But we're not going away. We're going to hang around, and we've just got to keep building on these experiences and learn. We can't go into Game 1s and play the way we did. Now we have to follow up Game 2, learn from Game 1 and move on, and this group has done that."

Cooper said he wasn't sure of the status of injured forward Brian Boyle for Game 2. Boyle didn't practice with the Lightning on Sunday after being a surprise scratch on Saturday.

"I don't know the answer to that, honestly," Cooper said when he was asked if Boyle can play in Game 2.

Rangers left wing Tanner Glass did not practice Sunday, but coach Alain Vigneault said he didn't have any concern about his availability for Game 2. Glass missed practice Friday, but he played in Game 1.

"Another maintenance day," Vigneault said.


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