Well, that certainly didn't goes as planned.
But at the same time, it went perfectly according to plan. The New York Rangers never seem to make it easy on themselves when they have an opportunity to take control of a series. We saw it all throughout the Washington series, and now we're seeing it on repeat against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Maybe not to the same degree, but the result is almost certainly the same.
With tonight's loss, the Rangers will now face elimination on Tuesday during Game 6, and honestly, it seems like they prefer it to be that way. The Rangers thrive the most when they have their backs against the wall, and are a bounce away from calling it a season. It's definitely a dangerous way to play, but for some reason, the Rangers thrive on it.
Basically, what I'm trying to get at here is that while tonight was most certainly deflating, this series is a long way from over. The Rangers weren't able to get the job done tonight, but they will have another opportunity on Tuesday evening, and hopefully force this series back to New York one final time.
After going 6-for-11 on the power play over the last little while, the Rangers put up a big goose egg tonight on the man-advantage. That's not to say they didn't have the chances, because they did, they just weren't able to capitalize on said opportunities. Unlike the previous two games, tonight was a very tight checking game and there wasn't a whole lot of run-and-gun once both teams settled in.
The first period only generate 10 shots between both teams, which pretty much set the stage for the remainder of the game. However, a little past the midway mark of the second period, the Lightning were able to catch the Rangers on a mistake and capitalized on the opportunity. Tanner Glass attempted to jump the route on Anton Stralman's stretch pass, but the puck wound up bouncing over his stick and right to Steven Stamkos.
Stamkos was able to gain a step on Marc Staal, and found Valtteri Filppula wide open behind him while trailing the play. Filppula collected the puck cleanly, fired a hard wrist shot in on net, and wound up beating Henrik Lundqvist just over the blocker side. About five minutes after the opening goal, the Lightning had another opportunity as Marc Staal was sent off for tripping.
Halfway through the power play, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, and Steven Stamkos capped off a beautiful passing play to put the Lightning up 2-0. Tampa absolutely abused the Rangers on the second goal, and made them pay by over-committing to the right side of the ice. That goal closed out the goal scoring for the game, as the Rangers weren't able to muster up much of anything in the final 20 minutes. Ben Bishop was good when he needed to be, but the Rangers didn't test him nearly as much as they did in Game 4.
As previously mentioned, this series is a long ways from being over, because the Rangers seem to thrive on this whole elimination thing. Win Game 6 on Tuesday, and swing this series back to Madison Square Garden.