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Lundqvist, Rangers get even against Lightning

by Brian Compton /

TAMPA -- Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves, and Rick Nash scored twice to help the New York Rangers defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena on Friday.

Martin St. Louis ended a long scoring drought with his first goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Keith Yandle had a goal and two assists, Chris Kreider scored, and Kevin Klein had two assists for the Rangers, who tied the best-of-7 series 2-2.

Lundqvist allowed 12 goals on 66 shots over the previous two games. He made 18 saves in the second period Friday.

"Coming off two losses and a lot of goals scored, obviously you don't feel great," Lundqvist said. "You walk around and you think a lot. To come into this game and be able to play a strong game, that obviously feels good, but it definitely helps when you have great people around you supporting you and giving you good advice, how to move forward and how to approach a game like this.

"So it means a lot to me, especially when you're under a lot of pressure, to have someone to talk to and get guidance."

Game 5 is at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"Giving up five goals in back-to-back games, all the stories about New York giving up six in back-to-back, now we're giving up five," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "That's why we play the game. You never know what's going to happen. At the end of the day, whether the scores were 10-1 or 1-0 all games, [the series is tied] 2-2. And we've got to go win a game on the road."

It was New York's first win by more than one goal in these playoffs.

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop made 19 saves; he's allowed five goals in back-to-back games for the first time since March 1 and 5, 2011.

"Obviously it's not the way you want to play at home," Bishop said. "We played a pretty good first half of the game. They got a couple of bounces there and they capitalized on their chances. In the third period, towards the end there, we kind of got away from our play, but the first part of the game we played pretty well."

Nash gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with his third goal of the postseason at 17:18 of the first period. After Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman got trapped in the Rangers zone, Nash took a pass from Kevin Hayes, powered his way past Cedric Paquette and beat Bishop with a backhand. It was Nash's eighth goal in 57 playoff games.

"I always feel the pressure to produce offensively," said Nash, who scored 42 goals during the regular season. "It's disappointing and frustrating when you can't help out your team the way you're supposed to."

The Lightning tied it 1-1 when Stamkos scored at 11:30 of the second period. After Tampa Bay failed on its third power play, Stamkos one-timed a feed from Alex Killorn from between the circles past Lundqvist. It was Stamkos' sixth goal of the playoffs, all in the past nine games.

The Rangers, outplayed for much of the period, took a 2-1 lead with 4:44 left on Kreider's seventh goal. Bishop denied Klein's wrist shot from the left circle, but Kreider quickly poked the rebound over the goal line.

Yandle gave New York a 3-1 lead 1:48 later when his shot from the point went off the leg of Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman past Bishop. It was Yandle's first goal of the playoffs.

"You know when you're doing the right things and playing well, as long as the team's winning, it doesn't matter," Yandle said. "I think it's one of those things at this time of year, you've got to find contributions from everyone. I think we've been doing a good job of that."

New York was outshot 19-6 in the second period. The Rangers are 6-0 in the playoffs when leading after two periods.

"It's tough to have a period like we did in the second period," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Nine times out of 10, you're coming out with the lead probably by multiple goals. Instead you come out of that, like you lose the period. It doesn't happen very often.

"We've been on both sides of that. We've been in situations where we've scored a bunch of goals in those situations, and we've been a team that's given up or been in the Rangers' shoes and come out on top. It's how you fight through it after that."

St. Louis scored 5:08 into the third period on a power play. After being high-sticked by Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov, St. Louis, who hadn't scored since April 6, one-timed Derick Brassard's feed past Bishop from the right circle to make it 4-1.

"The games keep piling on [without scoring], you're getting chances, of course you press," St. Louis, a former Lightning captain, said. "Any guy that tells you they don't press, they're lying. You're squeezing the stick a little bit, but you've got to play the game. You can't just try to get goals, you've got to play the game 200 feet. You do that, sometimes you get rewarded, and tonight I did."

Nash scored his second goal with 8:27 remaining. With Lightning forward Brenden Morrow in the box for hooking, Yandle's shot from the point was redirected by Hayes and denied by Bishop, but Nash jabbed the rebound between the goaltender's skates for his first multigoal playoff game.

"You know, for the past while here, they've been answering questions about their offensive production (Nash and St. Louis), and for them to score a couple tonight for us, to finally have a little bit of breathing room here and not be one of those tight one-goal games, is obviously very positive," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We'll analyze this one and do what we need to do to get ready for the next one."

Lightning defenseman Matthew Carle did not play because of an undisclosed injury. He was replaced by defenseman Mark Barberio, who hadn't played this postseason.


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