TAMPA, Florida–New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist reverted to his reliable ways after two poor performances, and helped the Rangers beat Tampa Bay 5-1 on Friday and square the NHL Eastern Conference finals at 2-2.
Lundqvist stopped 38 shots after allowing 12 goals while losing the previous two games. Rick Nash had two goals and an assist, and Martin St. Louis �X the former Tampa Bay captain �X contributed a third-period goal.
��The last 48 hours or so, it’s been pretty tough trying not to overanalyze or complicate things soul searching,�� Lundqvist said. ��It feels so good when you’re feeling like you’re doing it together and not just one or two guys.��
Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos scored for the third straight game, briefly making it 1-1 before New York’s Chris Kreider and Keith Yandle struck within a 2-minute span for a 3-1 Rangers lead.
With the Lightning’s Nikita Nesterov in the penalty box for high-sticking St. Louis, the star of Tampa Bay’s 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, delivered his first goal this postseason to make it 4-1 with just under 15 minutes remaining.
Nash, who had one goal over his previous 13 games, added another power-play goal at 11:33 of the third for the Rangers, who host Game 5 on Sunday.
��People are going to wake up in the morning and look at the box score and say: ‘Oh wow, Tampa got waxed’,�� Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ��But if you’re in the building, you probably don’t see it that way.��
The Lightning outshot the Rangers 39-24 but couldn’t rattle Lundqvist, who blocked a Stamkos shot from point-blank range and moments later stopped Alex Killorn on a breakaway as Tampa Bay tried to get back in the game in the second period.