Author: Cam Tucker

Lightning get taken to ‘school of hard knocks’ in third-period collapse


The New York Rangers have been here before. The Tampa Bay Lightning have not.

The Lightning had a chance to earn a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final with a win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday, but experienced a third-period collapse in a 7-3 loss.

Bring on Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

The Rangers went into the third period in a familiar spot, up 2-1. They quickly lit up the Lightning, scoring five times in the final 20 minutes, chasing goalie Ben Bishop from the net.

“I think for five straight periods, we played really, really well. We played defense. We created chances. We just didn’t turn pucks over. We thought we were playing a 2-1 game. Unfortunately, we weren’t winning 2-1,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

“And I think in a matter of seven or eight minutes there in that third period, we gave up more scoring chances and turned over more pucks, more than we did in all of Game 5 combined, the 60-minute game. For our team, as a group, we’ve never been this far before, and so it’s just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn’t.

“We’ve got a young group. They’ve played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we’re not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that’s what they did. It’s a lesson learned.”

Cooper was asked afterward about how his team will respond after such a loss. His answer was one of resolve. Now, will it translate onto the ice in the biggest game of the year for the Lightning, and the Rangers?

“We’re going to respond the same way we have every time our backs are against the wall,” said Cooper.

Video: Miller starts Rangers scoring spree seconds after spectacular Bishop save


J.T. Miller got it all started.

The 22-year-old Miller scored his first goal of the post-season — and first career Stanley Cup playoff goal — to give the New York Rangers a 3-1 lead early in the third period, seconds after Ben Bishop made an absolutely spectacular save. But Bishop couldn’t get back into position, and Miller buried the quick pass out front from Derick Brassard.

That was the first of five New York goals in the third period. The Rangers forced a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final with a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

A storm brewing: Rangers rally to force Game 7 with Lightning (Video)

Getty Images

For the second straight series in these playoffs, the New York Rangers have forced a Game 7 after facing elimination.

This time, it will be against the Tampa Bay Lightning, with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.

It didn’t seem like much of a surprise that the Rangers had held on to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. They’ve been in similar situations like that before. But, needing the win, they erupted for five goals, chasing Ben Bishop from the net, in the third period to defeat the Lightning 7-3 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Derick Brassard recorded the hat trick for New York, capping off a five-point night that started with the opening goal less than four minutes in.

“Honestly I just go out there and I try to just make a difference,” Brassard told

“When I feel like the team needs some support offensively or I feel I need to step up, I just try to do it. I don’t really put any pressure on myself. The disappointment from losing last year I think really hit me from losing the last game at home and facing elimination tonight. We’re not far away to be in the Final again. I just play.”

J.T. Miller and Rick Nash each recorded four-point nights for the Rangers, as well.

The goals came quick in the final period. Miller, James Sheppard and Brassard each scored for New York within the span 4:12, ending the night for Bishop, who allowed five goals on 26 shots.

“That’s why the won the Presidents’ trophy. If you stop thinking about your net for a little bit, that’s what can happen,” said Bishop, as per the New York Daily News.

While the Lightning managed a pair of goals in the third, with New York comfortably ahead at that point, Henrik Lundqvist came up with another strong performance. His biggest save came off Steven Stamkos in the first period, with the Rangers up by a goal.

Shortly after that stop, a left-pad act of denial on one of the league’s best scorers, the Rangers were able to increase their lead, in a physical, at times chippy game.

Stanley Cup finalists a year ago, the Rangers managed to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit in the second round against Washington.

Against Tampa Bay at Madison Square Garden, do the Rangers have another series comeback in them?

We’ll find out Friday.

TVR time? Quenneville hints at changes on defense for Game 6


The Chicago Blackhawks have been essentially riding four defensemen throughout this Western Conference Final, while sparingly playing 40-year-old Kimmo Timonen.

With the Blackhawks now facing elimination heading into Game 6 in Chicago, could head coach Joel Quenneville be considering a lineup change or two, particularly on the blue line?

Timonen, acquired just before the trade deadline, has averaged under 10 minutes of ice time — 9:25 to be exact — in 15 playoff games with Chicago.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Quenneville opened the door to possible lineup changes for Game 6, even entertaining the seemingly remote possibility that Trevor van Riemsdyk could make his return. The rookie, a pleasant surprise out of training camp, played 18 games with the Hawks before fracturing his kneecap blocking a shot in November. He then lasted eight games with Rockford of the AHL before undergoing wrist surgery.

Game 6 of the Western Conference final seems a big stage for a rusty returning rookie, but Quenneville didn’t rule it out at all.

Video: Callahan finally snaps playoff scoring slump to cut into Rangers lead


Ryan Callahan was closing in on two full months without a goal. He finally snapped his personal scoring slump in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday.

Callahan, who last scored back on April 4 during the regular season, beat Henrik Lundqvist with a move to the backhand on a power play breakaway just 1:50 after the New York Rangers opened up a two-goal lead.

By the way, that is a terrific pass up the middle from Anton Stralman.