It definitely wasn't pretty at times, but the New York Rangers found a way and defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 by a final score of 5-1. This win was also fairly new territory for the Rangers as their key players such as Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis stepped up massively tonight. After all of the hate Nash has taken, he put up two goals tonight, and suddenly everyone is signing a different tune about Nash.
The funny thing is though, Nash hasn't changed his game at all between tonight and the other the other three games of this series. The only difference? The puck finally hit the back of the net not only once, but twice. Either way, it was awesome to see Nash finally cash in and hopefully that is something that will get him going once again. And how about that St. Louis character?
It's kind of amazing what a single goal can do for a player's confidence after he has been snake bitten for so long, isn't it? After St. Louis cashed in on the power play, he had a little extra pep in his step, and probably could have scored a few more with the chances he was able to generate. This is extremely good news for the Rangers moving forward as their offense has not only put up 10 goals over the last two games, but their star players are stepping up.
Speaking of star players, how about that Henrik Lundqvist guy? After whiffing on the overtime winning in Game 3, Lundqvist responded tonight with a huge performance in between the pipes. With the amount of pressure the Lighting put on early in the game, this one could have gotten out of hand if not for the King. By doing so, he allowed the Rangers to grab the first lead of the night courtesy of Rick Nash, late in the first period.
Kevin Hayes was able to corral the loose puck while exiting the zone, and sent a crisp pass over to Nash to spring him on a partial breakaway. Nash was able to bull his way around Credric Paquette, made a quick move to the backhand, and slipped the puck past Ben Bishop. Following the goal, though, things started getting a bit hairy for the Rangers in their own end.
After chasing the play for a majority of the second period, Steven Stamkos finally caught the Rangers sleeping in the high slot. Alex Killorn was able to hit Stamkos with a beautiful pass right on the tape, and Stamkos bombed it over Lundqvist's blocker to make it a 1-1 game. Just as it looked as if the Lightning were going to take over the game, the Rangers responded with two quick goals.
First it was Chris Kreider, who tapped home the rebound generated by Keith Yandle's point shot and made it a 2-1 game. About two minutes later, Keith Yandle scored a goal of his own after banking the puck off of Victor Hedman's leg and in behind Ben Bishop to make it a 3-1 game. In the third period, the Rangers continued to pile on the goals as St. Louis and Nash each scored to make it a 5-1 game.
The Lightning pretty much mailed it in for the final few minutes, and as a result, things started getting a little chippy. After all of the side festivities were done with, the Rangers closed out the game and sent this series back to New York tied up at 2-2. The Rangers will be back in action on Sunday night as this series shifts back to Madison Square Garden for Game 5.