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Special teams help Lightning win Game 2, tie series

by David Satriano /

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman knew what he was talking about going into the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

"I said before the series I think special teams [were] going to be a difference-maker in this series, and tonight [the Rangers] scored two power-play goals. … We scored three and one [shorthanded goal], so that's huge," Hedman said. "That's going to give you momentum."

The Lightning rode the momentum from those four special-teams goals to even the best-of-7 series with a 6-2, Game 2 win at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

Game 3 is at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Lightning went 3-for-6 on the power play with nine shots on goal. Tyler Johnson scored with the man-advantage midway through the first period, and Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each had a power-play goal in the third period.

"I thought in Game 1 (a 2-1 loss Saturday), we actually had a lot of good looks on our PP," Johnson said. "There was a couple of times we were moving the puck around well and weren't able to get the shots. I thought tonight, we were able to get the shots, get those opportunities and a couple of big goals there."

The Rangers penalty kill had allowed three goals in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (25-for-28). They allowed three goals Monday and four on 10 chances in the first two games of this series.

Tampa Bay wasn't very disciplined, taking six minor penalties, including four in the first period, but Johnson scored first at the end of a New York two-man advantage.

"I've got to tip my hat to our penalty kill," Lightning coach John Cooper said. "I know we bent a little bit, and gave up some goals, but for us to take four minors in the first 10 minutes, [give the Rangers] a 5-on-3 for 1:21, and to not only come out of that even but to come out with the lead. …I thought that was a huge momentum swing. It gave us a lot of confidence and we took off from there."

The Rangers scored two power-play goals on five chances and had 13 shots on goal.

"Obviously a big day on special teams," said Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, who made 35 saves. "Whenever you get a shorthanded goal and a power-play goal to start the game like that, it helps."

Killorn assisted on Johnson's shorthanded goal and his power-play goal in the third period gave Tampa Bay a 6-2 lead.

"We took a few penalties, but we were lucky enough our PK was pretty strong and we built momentum off of our PK," Killorn said. "There were a lot of goals scored on the power play and on the PK and I think we took good advantage of those instances."


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