Lightning protect home ice

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There’s a saying that you’re not truly in trouble in a playoff series until you lose at home. The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped their first two games against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, but the silver lining was those games were in New York. Things have been far different back in Tampa.

After pulling off a 3-2 comeback win against the Rangers in Game 3, the Lightning had a somewhat cleaner win Tuesday night, besting the Rangers 4-1. With that the series is now even at 2-2.

Still, there’s an asterisk on that saying about losing at home – one the Boston Bruins are all too aware of. It doesn’t work quite the same if you didn’t start the series with a home ice advantage. After all, the Bruins won all three of their home games against the Hurricanes, but it didn’t matter because Carolina was able to defend its home ice in that first round series.

With two of the final three games set to be played in New York, the pressure is still on the Lightning. Still with their experience and how they’ve been playing lately, things are looking good right now for the back-to-back defending champions.

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TAMPA BAY 4 NY RANGERS 1 (Series tied at 2-2)

Ondrej Palat drove the Lightning’s offense with a goal and two assists. He’s up to seven goals and 13 points in 15 playoff contests.

Nikita Kucherov netted the game-winning goal. It was his seventh goal and 21st point in 15 postseason games.

Pat Maroon and Steven Stamkos also found the back of the net for Tampa Bay. Jan Rutta assisted on two of the Lightning’s four goals.

Artemi Panarin scored the Rangers’ lone goal. It was a power-play marker at 16:27 of the third period. The Lightning already had a 3-0 lead at that point though, so it didn’t have much influence on the game.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 34 of 35 Rangers shots. He improved to 10-5 with a 2.44 GAA and .925 save percentage in 15 contests in the 2022 playoffs.

At the other end of the ice, Igor Shesterkin saved 27 of 30 shots. He’s 10-7 with a 2.65 GAA and .929 save percentage in 18 playoff contests.

To make matters worse for the Rangers, Filip Chytil left the game with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. That’s on top of the absence of Ryan Strome, who didn’t play on Tuesday because of a lower-body injury.