Lightning edge Rangers to claim Stanley Cup berth

Sat May 30, 2015 12:52am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Lightning booked a Stanley Cup Finals berth with a tense 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday, the visitors breaking home goalie Henrik Lundqvist's Game Seven dominance to claim the Eastern Conference championship.

Lundqvist had won the last six series-deciding showdowns he had played for New York but third-period goals by Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat ended that National Hockey League record run by the Swede and silenced the Madison Square Garden crowd.

Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop stopped all 22 shots from the Rangers, withstanding an all-out assault in the final minutes, while Lundqvist saved 23 in the defensive battle.

Tampa Bay will meet either the Anaheim Ducks or the Chicago Blackhawks, who play a Game Seven decider of their own on Saturday for the Western Conference title.

"They just answer the challenge," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said about his young team, beaten 7-3 with a chance to end the series in Game Six in Florida.

The Lightning, who led the NHL in goals during the season, played ferocious defense to register their fifth victory in six games at the Garden this season.

"You shine the light bright on our guys, they'll just put on sunglasses and walk right through it," Cooper said. "It's unreal how they respond."

After two pressure-packed, scoreless periods, Lightning center Killorn opened the scoring just two minutes into the third.   Continued...

May 29, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) celebrates with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) , center Tyler Johnson (9) and center Steven Stamkos (91) after defeating the New York Rangers in game seven of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden.  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports