Thursday, May 21, 2015
Nikita Kucherov's OT winner Helps Tampa win crazy Game 3
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It was one of the craziest Game three's in the 2015 Eastern Conference final as both teams managed to score ten goals combined (five for both sides) in regulation time that it had to go into overtime to get a winner. And the winner was one Nikita Kucherov at 3:33 as he snapped a quick shot between both Rangers defenders and went top shelf inside the near post that somehow Henrik Lundqvist whiffed and skated off in disgust.
But the Rangers wanted to make up for that poor and sloppy performance at Madison Square Garden in Game 2 and got off to a great start on the Power Play as Derick Brassard continues his hot playoff performance by ripping a hard shot thru a screen in front of Ben Bishop at 1:02 of the first, the a streaking Jesper fast got his first NHL playoff goal at 9:55 from a brilliant feed by Chris Kreider. Fast got to Bishop and as soon as he was ready to shoot forehand, faked it and went backhand.
But they allowed Steven Stamkos to convert a rebound chance and that ended the opening period with the Rangers ahead by a goal. The second period was a different story as the Lightning was able to slice and dice thru the Rangers defense and converted three more times within a six plus minutes streak as they got a Ondrej Palat power play goal, Tyler Johnson is continuing his goal parade in the playoff and then an Alex Killorn shot got by Lundqvist.
But being down by two goals the Rangers found a way to keep themselves alive as Fast got his second of the game and converted on a rebound chance going top shelf. Tampa leading by a goal after the end of the second period and there was life for the Rangers after another sloppy period. Then the third began and once again the Captain of the Rangers Ryan McDonagh found a way to tie this game up from a blast at the point on the power play at 2:28 of the final regulation period. But once again the Lightning sliced and diced the Rangers defense to retake the lead by Palat as he glided in and slammed home the poetical game winner by Lundqvist.
It looked like the Rangers were going to lose game 3 and all hope was about to get lost till a miracle goal came out of nowhere from Dan Boyle who was in the right place at the right time and slammed home the puck from a great feed by J.T. Miller and after sixty minutes of play the Rangers and the Lightning went into overtime.
This was a tough pill to swallow for the Rangers as they had a great first period, fell apart in the second only to try and piece it back together and forced overtime in the third. Right now the Rangers grinding defensive play has been missing since Game 2, the Lightning are taking advantage and finding holes in the ice to exploit and getting their goals past Lundqvist. When your defense is not executing, your going to see the scoreboard not in your favor and they can't play the run and gun game Tampa is.
The truth is that both Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis who are good people and have played in the NHL for a long time are sadly hurting the Rangers because they are getting outworked and outmuscled off the puck and when you see the other side taking advantage of that, more times than not the puck will be inside your net. But let's hope that Alain Vigneault will get the troops ready for this Friday night and try to even the series again.