The Rangers produced their usual playoff output of two goals in Game 2, but at the other end they gave up a bunch of Tampa Bay goals, including three from Tyler Johnson, en route to a disappointing 6-2 defeat.
Special teams ruled the night; six of the game’s eight goals came at less than full strength, and one of the even strength goals came just seconds after an expired penalty.
Power play goals from Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan kept the Rangers within striking distance into the third, but Tampa’s high-end offensive weapons shone through on numerous good looks to pull away.
The first period was a parade to the penalty box, as the two teams combined for seven minor penalties and skated just under 12 minutes at 5v5. The Rangers were gifted 67 seconds of a five-on-three advantage, on which they more than returned the favor when Dan Boyle put a pass in Martin St. Louis’ feet, springing Tyler Johnson for a breakaway. For all intents and purposes, it was the ultra-rare five-on-three shorthanded goal.
The Rangers responded just a few minutes later on a Chris Kreider power play goal. Each of the goats from the shorthanded goal redeemed themselves, as St. Louis tipped Boyle’s point shot en route to Ben Bishop, and Kreider cashed in on the rebound.
After three penalties in exactly one minute, Johnson restored Tampa Bay’s lead, adding a power play goal to go along with his shorthanded one. The Rangers penalty killers were caught scrambling after a blocked shot, giving Johnson ample time and space to pick his spot and roof the puck over Lundqvist.
Johnson completed his hat-trick 8:17 into the second period, this time at even strength on a scramble in front of the net following an Ondrej Palat shot that rang off the post. The original source of the scoring chance came from Marc Staal blowing a tire chasing a loose puck in the offensive zone, allowing Nikita Kucherov and Palat to break in on an odd-man rush.
Derek Stepan cut the Tampa lead in half with six minutes to play in the second, scoring for the third consecutive game by banking a second-chance opportunity off of Braydon Coburn’s skate and in. The bounces are certainly going Stepan’s way as of late.
The Rangers were buzzing at the end of the second period, nearly evening the score after sustaining offensive zone pressure in consecutive shifts. Rick Nash and Jesper Fast also came close to making it a 3-3 game in the third period, generating a pair of good chances while shorthanded. Fast in particular appeared to have a lot of net to shoot at, but he couldn’t sufficiently elevate the puck over Bishop’s pad.
Tampa responded with a pair of beauties to put the game out of reach, on the first of which Victor Hedman set up Alex Killorn with a sweet cross-ice pass:
another look at that great pass pic.twitter.com/B4AHOqMJEk
— Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) May 19, 2015
Steven Stamkos scored his first goal of the series with a pretty deflection, which more or less put the game away. Killorn added a second goal in garbage time.