Saturday, July 2, 2022

2022 NHL Playoffs: Rangers cut into Hurricanes series lead; Lightning go up 3-0 over Panthers

Stanley Cup playoffs action continues on Sunday with three games on the schedule. The Tampa Bay Lightning opened the day taking care of business with a dominating 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers. The Lighting needs just one more victory to complete the sweep, and move on to the Eastern Conference finals. 

The Carolina Hurricanes once again struggled on the road. The New York Rangers got their first win of the series in Madison Square Garden with a 3-1 result. Carolina still leads 2-1.

Sunday’s action will close as the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers face each other to see who will take a lead in what is currently an even 1-1 series. This game will be on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET and you can stream the action on fuboTV (try for free).

Game 3: Lightning 5, Panthers 1

The Lighting are hungry for a three-peat as Stanley Cup champions and they are certainly playing like it. They took a 3-0 lead in their second round series and just need to win one more home game on Monday for the sweep against the Panthers. 

The game was even after the first period as each team found a goal in the first frame. Corey Perry scored first for the Lightning at the 13:21 mark when Ryan McDonagh sent a shot straight down the middle and Perry deflected the puck into the net. That lead lasted less than three minutes with Florida center Sam Reinhart taking advantage on the power play. Before Reinhart’s goal, the Panthers had not scored on the power play in the entire postseason (0-for-25). 

Tampa Bay took control early in the second period when defenseman Erik Cernak picked up a pass from Ondrej Palat that was originally intended for Ross Colton but went under his stick. Cernak corralled the puck and sent it to the top right corner of the net. That pass did not play out as intended but still had a good result, to put the Lightning up 2-1 —  a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Right wing Nikita Kucherov sent an incredibly smooth pass to Steven Stamos, who went on to bury the puck with a slap shot for the third Tampa Bay goal. 

Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled out of the net with under five minutes remaining in the third period and the Lightning added a couple of empty netters to pad the margin late in the game. Tampa Bay will now look to sweep their in-state rivals on short rest — Game 4 is Monday night at Amalie Arena. 

Game 3: Rangers 3, Hurricanes 1

New York has its first win of the series after a solid performance at home. Rangers center Mika Zibanejad only had four shots and no points in the first two games of the series. However, he played a key role for his team’s offense on Sunday, starting with the first goal of the game. Left wing Artemi Panarin sent a cross-ice pass to Zibanejad, who then proceeded to send the puck inside the left side of the net to get New York ahead early.

The Rangers extended their lead just under six minutes into the second period as Zibanejad helped Chris Kreider keep control of the puck behind the net. It was a frantic moment for the Hurricanes as defenseman Tony DeAngelo lost his stick but still attempted to block the wrist shot Kreider took it to the bottom of the circle.

Less than three minutes later, Nino Niederreiter got Carolina on the board. New York was looking to score but a failed pass resulted in a turnover. Jordan Staal picked up the loose change and then sent it to Niederreiter to take it the rest of the way. 

The Rangers entered the third with a 2-1 lead, but both teams were more or less even in the first two periods with 13 scoring chances each, and New York was able to ice the game with an empty-net goal from Tyler Motte. Game 4 is set for Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. 

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