May 27, 2015 / 4:17 AM / 4 years ago

Rangers trounce Lightning 7-3 to force Game 7 decider

New York Rangers center Derick Brassard (16) celebrates his goal during the third period in game six of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters0 - New York center Derick Brassard scored his first career hat-trick to lead the Rangers to a 7-3 road win over the Tampa Bay Lightning and stave off elimination in their Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday.

New York’s victory tied the series at 3-3 and set up a decisive Game Seven at Madison Square Garden on Friday. The eventual winner will play either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Brassard opened the scoring less than four minutes in on a pass from J.T. Miller, and Keith Yandle followed that up on a long shot just past the 15 minute mark

Former Ranger Ryan Callahan narrowed the lead with a power play marker for Tampa Bay late in the period, but New York came out roaring in the third with three straight goals to put the game out of reach.

Brassard put in an empty-net goal in the final minutes, and also had two assists for a total of five points on the night. Miller and Rick Nash each scored a goal and added three assists.

Nikita Kucherov led the Bolts with two goals.

New York netminder Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves while Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop gave up five on 26 shots and was pulled in the third for Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Julian Linden

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