After two horrid defensive performances, the New York Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist come back strong in Game 4 against the Lightning.
By Robby Sabo
Over the past 48 hours – since the that dreadful Game 3 loss that saw six goals allowed for the second consecutive game – the talk around the city was all about Henrik Lundqvist.
Many were concerned about his poor play. Some, as idiotic as it might sound, even called for his benching.
Tonight, The King reminded all of those fools why he is the heart and soul of the New York Rangers.
Thanks to hist 38 saves on 39 Tampa Bay Lightning shots, the Rangers exploded for five-goals to take Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 5-1.
There couldn’t have been more of a perfect script.
Struggling vets, Marty St. Louis, Rick Nash and Keith Yandle, all broke out in a major way.
Nash scored two goals in total, including the first of the game on a sweet deke that beat giant Ben Bishop:
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 23, 2015
The first period overall was a good one for New York. It was apparent that their game was more defensively structured and patient.
However, the Lightning still had their fair amount of chances, including hitting two posts. To start the second, the Lightning came out flying.
Steven Stamkos tied the game at one after Dan Girardi left him all alone in front. A few more high quality scoring chances were thrown at Lundqvist, but he came up huge time and again.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 23, 2015
Once Chris Kreider and Keith Yandle scored near the end of the second period, the coverage breakdowns we saw from the Blueshirts early on evaporated. In fact, it was evident that they brought an extra physical element to the game, forcing the skilled top-6 of Tampa to be jumpy on the puck.
Things went so well that St. Louis scored his first of the playoffs, on the power play by a beautiful cross ice pass from Derick Brassard. Nash collected the final one while in front of Bishop on a rebound.
Both Nash and Yandle finished the game with three-points.
The end of the game got chippy. Chippy, though, is exactly what the Rangers now want to succeed with in this series. It caused frustration for Tyler Johnson and the Triplets Line all night. They finished with no points.
Game 5 is set for Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.