By | June 5, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. It’s not a panic with Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay Lightning.

The two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions are down two-to-one in the series to New York Rangers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal but remain certain that they’ve got the necessary skills to get back into the top-of-seven-series.

“Nobody’s expecting us to win a conference final 4-0,” forward Pierre-Edouard Bellmare declared on Saturday.

Game 3 will take place on this Sunday on Sunday at Amalie Arena after the Rangers have dominated the previous two home games.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper cited poor puck management, along with the absence that his team is in a hurry to game as the main reasons in Tampa Bay losing consecutive playoff games for the first time in the last three years.

Cooper was pleased with how his team responded in the second half of a 3-2 defeat in Game 2. Cooper stated that the reigning champions are “better in us.”

“At one point, you may lose two consecutive games during the playoffs. It’s just that we’ve not for how long is amazing,” Cooper said after the Lightning’s NHL record of 18 consecutive victories in games after a loss in the postseason ended abruptly on Friday night.

“Did it make us lose out of the playoffs? The answer is no,” Cooper added. “Do there exist a mountain to climb? There’s no question.”

However, the Lightning believe they have the ability and the determination and strength to come back from a slow beginning to the season.

“We played with a little bit of desperation,” Cooper explained of the way Tampa Bay nearly wiped out two goals in the final minutes during Game 2. “For us to get back into the series, we’ll need a lot more of that.”

The Rangers have won six of their previous seven games, while scoring opponents 28-13. They’ve also won all 13 series when they had a 2-0 lead.

The Lightning are facing a deficit of two games in a playoff series their first playoff series since in which they were eliminated from Columbus in the opening round. The Lightning also ended up getting eliminated after being beaten by two games during series in 2014 and in 2018.

The Rangers are just two wins of a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, but do not want to lose sight of themselves.

“It’s real exciting but we were on the other side of it when we were down 2-0 (to Carolina in second round), so I think it’s a good lesson for us not to take our foot off the gas,” Rangers forward Adam Fox said.

“I think we’ve done a better job of playing on the road as the playoffs have gone along,” Fox said. “So, I think it’s important for us to carry on how we’ve been playing (at home) on the road, obviously try to play the same style of hockey.”

NY’s Kid Line of Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko continues to shine and goalie Igor Shesterkin has outplayed Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy to help the Rangers remain undefeated in their battle against the Lightning (5-0 for the entire in the regular-season).

“He’s unreal. … Each single game He has a number of highlight reel saves” New York’s K’Andre Miller declared after Shesterkin made 29 saves compared against Vasilevskiy’s 25 for Game 2.

“Obviously, (the Rangers) have a lot of trust in him, let him do his thing, try to limit the chances he sees by blocking shots, doing those little things,” Miller said. “But Shesty’s Shesty, he’s going to stop the puck.”

Despite having the advantage in the game through two games but the Rangers goalie has remained to his pre-series remark that is his fellow Russian Vasilevskiy was the top goalie for his job in all of the planet.

“Currently I don’t think it really is a factor. … It’s impossible to forget that the goal of the series is the winner with four victories,” Shesterkin said. “We just have to keep playing.”

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