May 19, 2015

Michael Clifford

2015-05-19

Lightning hammer Rangers, Tyler Johnson stays hot, Kevin Hayes, and looking ahead to Anaheim-Chicago Game 2. 

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It was a drubbing that wasn't really one until the third period. The Lightning were up 3-2 through 40 minutes, but managed to make it 4-2 early in the third period, and then the nail in the coffin was delivered just a few minutes later. The game was of course highlighted by Tyler Johnson, who scored Tampa's first three goals en route to a 6-2 win. Incidentally, Johnson was crashing the net for his goals (and helped by Martin St. Louis on one of them). That's a dimension that's important to stay a consistent goal scorer, and despite his size, he's not afraid of the dirty areas.

That was the theme of the night for the Lightning. They were getting in front of Henrik Lundqvist, getting to the net, and making him move. Doing all of that consistently is a heck of a lot easier said (or typed) than done, and Tampa Bay did well at that in Game 2.

This game also marks the first non-one goal game for the Rangers of the playoffs. That's almost unfathomable here now in the third round.

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Dan Boyle had a point shot that started a sequence leading to a Chris Kreider power play goal last night, and something as simple as getting a point shot through has been a challenge for the Rangers at times over the last couple of seasons, at least on the power play. Keith Yandle was obviously brought in for this reason, but it's important to remember that Boyle was also brought in last offseason to be that power play difference-maker on the blue line. The team can generate shots better on the power play with Boyle than with any non-Yandle defensemen (according to Hockey Analysis), and this team needs power play help. If results like that Kreider goal is the start of a trend for the Rangers, and not a blip, that's good news for their team and their fans.