Blog

Blitz through the shattered blue line to defeat the Rangers

TAMPA — The Lightning didn't pull off the healthiest win over New York in Saturday's Eastern Conference Finals. "It's just that kind of warrior mentality that they have," said coach Jon Cooper of their return to the ice. "It just... (Author: Gardener)

BlitzNew York Rangers center Andrew Copp (18) falls to the ice as Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), right, smashes the puck during the first period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, May 11. June 2022, controlled in Tampa. TAMPA — The Lightning didn't pull off the healthiest win over New York in Saturday's Eastern Conference Finals. Tampa Bay briefly lost two defenders, with Victor Hedman missing about half of the second half and Erik Cernak missing about 10 minutes in the third. "It's just that kind of warrior mentality that they have," said coach Jon Cooper of their return to the ice. Tampa Bay Lightning center Riley Nash (16), right, and New York Rangers center Tyler Motte (64) battle during the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. The moments without Hedman and Cernak were reminiscent of the Lightning winning Game 2 of Round 2 against the Panthers. "I don't know how much more we could have continued (in this series after Game 4) if we had to play two nights later," Cooper said. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) works it out in the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) and New York defenseman Rangers forward Jacob Trouba (8) to take possession of the New York Rangers for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. On Saturday, about halfway through the second period, Hedman was clearly frustrated as he ran toward the bench. He had just sent the puck onto the ice when New Yorker Alexis Lafrenière unexpectedly sidewiped it and threw his shoulder in Hedman's face. Moments later, he was pulled off the bench and headed to the dressing room, where he stayed for the rest of the time. Cernak also blocked a right-handed shot on Mika Zibanejad's Rangers power play. Cernak immediately ran to the bank and went down the tunnel. He resurfaced less than seven minutes later and did a lap on the ice during a television break before returning to the bench. Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) battles on the boards against New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) during the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers for Game 6 of Saturday's Eastern Conference Finals. June 11, 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. "That was playoff history for us," Cooper said. As Brandon Hagel charged towards the net and conceded a pass from Anthony Cirelli, the Lightning's first offensive thrust after Steven Stamkos' goal in the third period almost extended the lead they had just regained. Cirelli had maneuvered his pass around a kneeling Rangers defender and an earlier feed from Alex Killorn kept the sequence alive before being pinned against the boards and creating the scoring opportunity. Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin parried Hagel's shot, but that chance helped capture the impact of the Hagel-Cirelli-Killorn line: they generated 12 shot attempts in the first third, added eight more in the final 40 minutes and saved three of the expected ones Lightning's five best singles - Goal percentages in Game 6, according to the Natural Stat trick. New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) stops Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) stopping in the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers for Game 6 defends the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. Hagel, Cirelli and Killorn each produced four shots on target while Killorn added three. Since Game 3, the trio have scored just one goal - Hail's empty net in Game 5 - but have made 17, 12 and nine shot attempts in the Blitz's last three wins, respectively, before hitting a series high in the clincher. New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) works to save Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) in the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, June November 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. "We found some kind of chemistry," Killorn said. In the first half, Hagel sent a pass to Cirelli's racquet outside the crease which Shesterkin saved, and Hagel almost scored a goal from Shesterkin's helmet a half later. The line caused disruptions on forechecks that prevented Rangers from finding a rhythm offensively, including one with 12 minutes left in the second that gave Killorn a scoring chance - but he fired the ensuing shot wide. It was fitting that a conference final heralded as a battle between the league's top goalies ended in a game both deservedly won. Andrei Vasilevskiy's greatest moment came at 13:20 in the third period. Andrew Copp attempted to ricochet in after a slapshot from Jacob Trouba, but the four-time All-Star spread to maintain a 1-0 lead from Lightning, prompting the loudest "Vasy's better" chant of the series. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) gets a hug from Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) while Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) celebrates Stamkos' second goal against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. However, Shesterkin made the most stunning saves on Saturday. On a night when the Lightning had 36 scoring chances against the Rangers' 16, the Vezina favorite saved 29 of the 31 shots he faced (a .933 percent save). Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91), center, is congratulated by teammate Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) after scoring in the second period against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. "He's been our best player all year," Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of Shesterkin, "and he's done it again this series." Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14), right, and New York Rangers left wing Dryden Hunt (29) are seen in goal during the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. "I don't think anyone in the room or out of the room is going to dispute that," Trouba said of calling Shesterkin the most important member of the Rangers. Perhaps the Muscovite native's best save was stopping a backhand from Nikita Kucherov - after Stamkos found him all alone in front of the crease - just over a minute into the third period. Shesterkin was previously undefeated in five elimination games but was beaten by Stamkos' slap shot from near the Lightning bank. Stamkos touched Shesterkin's glove when he smashed in his own rebound 21 seconds after Frank Vatrano equalized, but the goal stood on review. Shesterkin needed the fewest games to make 600 saves in a single postseason since 1955-56. He bested his predecessor Henrik Lundqvist by recording 10 playoff wins in his first 17 games, the goaltender to reach that mark fastest in franchise history. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) goes to the bench after hitting the puck in the second half against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa became. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) shoots the puck past New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) while New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) shoots in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, May June 11, 2022, watching in Tampa. Stamkos scored in that game and gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.

Read

Lightning Rangers Match 6 Testimony

Victor Hedman was flushed. He was visibly upset after being hit in the jaw by Rangers' Alexis Lafreniere without a penalty awarded midway through the second period at the Amalie Arena on Saturday. Hedman was even more unhappy when he... (Author: Gardener)

Victor HedmanTampa Bay Lightning center Riley Nash (16), right, and New York Rangers center Tyler Motte (64) battle during the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. The veteran defender slammed his racquet against the boards in front of Lightning Bank, snapping the blade off and then yelling at referee Chris Rooney as he left the ice. He was visibly upset after being hit in the jaw by Rangers' Alexis Lafreniere without a penalty awarded midway through the second period at the Amalie Arena on Saturday. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian (24), right, and New York Rangers center Kevin Rooney (17), battle during the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) works it out in the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) and New York defenseman Rangers forward Jacob Trouba (8) to take possession of the New York Rangers for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. He looked like a man who would run Lafreniere through the boards the next time he saw him on the ice. Hedman and his teammates were frustrated by the no-call and even more so by losing the top defender and former Norris Trophy winner for the remainder of the period. But in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they kept their composure on all important counts. They stuck to their structure, managed the puck, stayed disciplined, waited for their chances and retreated defensively after taking the lead with a 2-1 win in a row. Tampa Bay Lightning fans celebrate the team's arrival during the first period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. With their most complete game of the postseason, the Lightning advanced to their third consecutive Stanley Cup Finals and fourth in eight seasons, becoming the first team since the 1983-85 Oilers to reach three consecutive Cup Finals. When it was over, Hedman, returning for the third third, picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference winners along with Stamkos and alternate captains Ryan McDonagh and Alex Killorn. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) gets a hug from Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) while Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) celebrates Stamkos' second goal against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91), center, is congratulated by teammate Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) after scoring in the second period against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. The ultimate team player, Stamkos has largely ceded the spotlight to his teammates for the past three postseasons: Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point before he got injured. As luck would have it, he also happened to be in the penalty area when Rangers scored their only goal. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) shoots the puck while New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) tries to save the shot during the third period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 to block in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) shoots the puck while New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) tries to save the shot during the third period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 to block in Tampa. Stamkos scored in a 2–1 Lightning win over the Rangers in the game's cancellation. Stamkos scored in a 2–1 Lightning win over the Rangers in the game's cancellation. Stamkos opened the scoring 9:17 in the second period after a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. The shot went around defender Ryan Lindgren's legs and under the blocker and over Igor Shesterkin's pad to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. Stamkos was penalized for keeping Lafreniere 8-15 to play, which resulted in Frank Vatrano's crucial power-play goal with just under seven minutes to go. But Stamkos quickly made amends, scoring just 21 seconds later to restore the Lightning lead. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his third goal of the period against the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. A pass from Kucherov sent Stamkos alone at Shesterkin. The keeper parried his shot from deep with a glove, but the puck came out of his glove and caught Stamkos in the left leg as he ran past. Stamkos ended the streak with five goals. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) shoots the puck past New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) while New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) shoots in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, May June 11, 2022, watching in Tampa. Stamkos scored in that game and gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), right, celebrates with teammate Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) after Stamko's winning goal against the New York Rangers in the third period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference on finals Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. It took the Lightning more than 30 minutes to get on the scoreboard, but they carried the action early, played faster and spent more time in the offensive zone. By the end of the second period, they had a 50-23 lead in shot attempts, 23-13 in shots on goal, and 12-2 in chances. Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) shakes hands with New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) after the Lightning defeated the Rangers 2-1 in the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Only Shesterkin's outstanding work kept the Rangers in the game. Shesterkin caused his own troubles on the Blitz's first scoring chance when his clearing pass was knocked down by Riley Nash over the right circle less than four minutes into play. Nash quickly got the puck to Pat Maroon at the top of the crease, but Shesterkin stopped Maroon's tip-in attempt. Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Pat Maroon (14) celebrate the Lightning's 2-1 win over the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Shesterkin saved with his left skate against a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare spike from a Hedman shot later in the half, then stopped with his left pad in the last minute on a backhand shot from point-blank range by Anthony Cirelli after a pass from Brandon Hail Cirelli had sent in alone. In the second third, Cirelli went to the net, but Shesterkin stopped his backhand attempt. Shesterkin then robbed Kucherov from below in the left circle after a cross ice pass from Stamkos and held his own when Maroon made a power move to the top of the net. The Lightning made a concerted effort throughout the game to net as many shots as possible while the Rangers struggled to generate chances or get traffic ahead of Vasilevskiy. Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates their 2-1 win over the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. New York Rangers center Tyler Motte (64), left, New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) and New York Rangers left winger Alexis Lafrenière (13) look on after going 1-2 in the Eastern Conference last Saturday lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. The Lightning played a disciplined game but two penalties in the third period put tremendous pressure on their penalty kill. The unit stopped the first of the Rangers' two chances with the man advantage, and it was a big kill. After Tampa Bay took a 1-0, 17-35 lead, Corey Perry was penalized for his highstick on Filip Chytil, giving New York their first power play of the game. Erik Cernak blocked a few shots from Mika Zibanejad from the left circle, the second with a right hand, and sent him into the dressing room. Jan Rutta, coming out as Cernak's replacement, threw a puck over the boards and out of the zone to complete the kill. Vasilevskiy didn't get another shutout in a series-winning game, but he came terribly close. Thanks to the defensive play in front of him, he wasn't tested much, stopping 20 of 21 shots. But he made a big save on a rebound attempt by Andrew Copp from the top of the crease with about 13 minutes to go, taking away the bottom of the net after stopping a Jacob Trouba shot from the right spot. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91), bottom, carries the Prince of Wales Trophy after the Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91), bottom, carries the Prince of Wales Trophy after the Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Only Vatrano's 6:53 slam from over the left circle after a faceoff win by Copp saved Vasilevskiy from a seventh shutout in his last eight straight winning games. He's only allowed two goals on 221 shots in those games for a save percentage of .991. Tampa Bay Lightning players accept the Prince of Wales Trophy after the Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning players accept the Prince of Wales Trophy after the Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning players accept the Prince of Wales Trophy after the Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in the Eastern Conference last Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa. The Lightning meets the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Finals. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.

Read

The Celtics could have had the Warriors on the ropes, but they made it difficult again

With a few irrelevant seconds on the clock and all the business in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Friday night, the crowd made a convincing decision to […] (Author: Gardener)

a few irrelevant secondsWith a few irrelevant seconds on the clock and all matters in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Friday night convincingly decided in the visitors' favour, Jayson Tatum hit the ball near the Leprechaun logo and slowly began to make your way to the sideline, then exit down the tunnel. It was also one of the Celtics' least annoying decisions with basketball late in their 107-97 loss to the Warriors, leveling that streak at two games apiece and proving once again that the Celtics treat wealth like an ill-fitting Christmas gift, something that needs to be returned almost immediately upon receipt. hit the ball? A power dribbling of frustration for the final scene? Better to watch another forced shot or reckless turnover for the street. The Celtics could have had that. They could have won the series 3-1 and left them three shots to defeat the proud, recently triple Champion Warriors and win their first NBA championship since 2008. Despite another commanding performance from Steph Curry (43 points, 10 rebounds), the Celtics led 5 at halftime, trailed by only 1 by the end of their chronic nemesis, the third period, and led 94-90 when Marcus Smart was 5 caught up with a 3-pointer with minutes and 18 seconds to go. Well, what they did looked very much like a complete re-enactment of Ricky Davis' Celtics career. They scored another field goal the rest of the night, an Al Horford 3-pointer with 1:32 left to cut the Warriors' lead to 100-97. The Warriors scored the last 7 points and finished the game with a 21-6 run over the final 6:29. In my estimation a Celtics played what would be called 'well' on Friday night and it was the Celtic who had the most legitimate reasons for not playing well. Robert Williams III continued his inspirational performance in Game 3 (8 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks) with another gem on Friday (7 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks). He's doing so on a surgically repaired left knee that has at times this postseason robbed the mobility of a player who's best at his slam dunks and shot blockers looks like he's launched off a trampoline. He looked good. Jaylen Brown scored 21 points and had some nice stretches, but the ball bogged down too often when in his hands. I thought this might be the game where Tatum drops 40 and plays shot after shot with Curry, but he only hit 4 of 15 from 2-point range and turned the ball over six times. Smart hit 7 of 18 attempts - about eight too many - and ended up down 17. Derrick White made 1 of 7 2-point attempts and had three turnovers. Al Horford made just 2 of 6 shots, all from within 3-point territory. Grant Williams had 3 points and four fouls. After a rousing 116-100 win in Game 3 Wednesday night that left Boston fans with visions of duck boats in their minds, the Celtics had a chance in Game 4 to take the lead in the series. Instead, they fought individually and as a lone fighter as a unit, and they were in command of nothing when the game was right around the corner. We should have seen it coming. The Celtics have overcome and even corrected some of their biggest shortcomings in a season that started with 18 wins in their first 39 games and is currently two wins away from a championship. They take the detour from the easiest road every damn time. They lose Game 5 at home to the Bucks in the second round, falling 3-2 behind. Losing Game 6 at home to the Heat, they assure the Eastern Conference Finals will be decided on the Miami pitch. They win Game 1 of the Finals in San Francisco but fail in Game 2 when there is a golden opportunity to take two right on the street. The chance for a 3-1 lead turned into a best-of-three, with two of the games taking place on Warriors territory. There's no denying that these Celtics have been incredibly resilient. Sometimes it's part of their charm, one of the reasons Celtics fans have fallen so much in love with this team, even though they don't and shouldn't trust them fully yet. They beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in Milwaukee in Game 6 and dethroned the champions in Game 7 in Boston. They took Game 7 out of the Miami heat. This is the sixth trip to the final for Curry, Klay Thompson and the carcass of Draymond Green. You've seen everything. Curry knows how to break hearts, wills and championship dreams. Playing with the Warriors is a dangerous game. The Celtics could have had the Warriors on the ropes. I suppose if the Celtics are going to do that, if Banner 18 becomes a reality this year, they're going to do it their way - at the highest possible difficulty. But in Game 4, the Celtics were annoying at their worst. Get breaking news and analysis delivered to your inbox throughout the basketball season.

Read

The Celtics could have had the Warriors on the ropes, but they made it difficult again

Boston should have won Game 4, but an annoying performance gave Golden State back home field advantage. (Author: Gardener)

BostonRobert Williams was the lone Celtic who had a good game with 7 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. With a few irrelevant seconds on the clock, all matters remained convincingly settled in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Friday night. In the favor of the guests, Jayson Tatum slammed the ball near the Leprechaun logo and slowly began to work his way to the pave a sideline before going down the tunnel. It was also one of the Celtics' least annoying decisions with basketball late in their 107-97 loss to the Warriors, leveling that streak at two games apiece and proving once again that the Celtics treat wealth like an ill-fitting Christmas gift, something that needs to be returned almost immediately upon receipt. hit the ball? Better to watch another forced shot or reckless turnover for the street. The Celtics could have had that. They could have gone up 3-1 in the series and given them three shots to defeat the proud, recently triple Champion Warriors and win their first NBA championship since 2008. Despite another commanding performance from Stephen Curry (43 points, 10 rebounds), the Celtics led by 5 at halftime, trailed by only 1 by the end of their chronic nemesis, the third quarter, and led 94-90, as Marcus Smart co-led 5 minutes, 18, 3-hand seconds left. Well, what they did looked very much like a complete re-enactment of Ricky Davis' Celtics career. They scored another field goal for the rest of the night, an Al Horford 3-pointer with 1:32 left to cut the Warriors' lead to 100-97. The Warriors scored the last 7 points and finished the game with a 21-6 run over the final 6:29. Sullivan: What seemed like a perfect night turned out to be a missed opportunity for the Celtics instead. In my estimation a Celtic played what would be called 'well' on Friday night and it was the Celtic who had the most legitimate reasons for not playing well. Robert Williams followed up on his inspirational performance in Game 3 (8 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks) with another gem on Friday (7 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks). He's doing so on a surgically repaired left knee that has at times this postseason robbed the mobility of a player who's best at his slam dunks and shot blockers looks like he's launched off a trampoline. He looked good. Jaylen Brown scored 21 points and had some nice stretches, but the ball bogged down too often when in his hands. I thought this might be the game where Tatum drops 40 and plays shot after shot with Curry, but he only hit 4 of 15 from 2-point range and turned the ball over six times. Derrick White made 1 of 7 2-point attempts and had three turnovers. Horford made only 2 of 6 shots, all from within 3-point territory. Grant Williams had 3 points and four fouls. After a rousing 116-100 win in Game 3 Wednesday night that left Boston fans with visions of duck boats in their minds, the Celtics had a chance in Game 4 to take the lead in the series. Instead, they fought individually and as a lone fighter as a unit, and they were in command of nothing when the game was right around the corner. We should have seen it coming. The Celtics have overcome and even repaired some of their biggest shortcomings in a season that started with 18 wins in their first 39 games and currently gives them two wins from a championship. They always take the detour from the easiest route. They lose Game 5 at home to the Bucks in the second round, falling 3-2 behind. Losing Game 6 at home to the Heat, they assure the Eastern Conference Finals will be decided on the Miami pitch. They win Game 1 of the Finals in San Francisco but fail in Game 2 when there is a golden opportunity to take two right on the street. A chance to go up 3-1 has turned into a best-of-three, with two of the games taking place on Warriors territory. There's no denying that these Celtics have been incredibly resilient. Sometimes it's part of their charm, one of the reasons Celtics fans have fallen so much in love with this team, even though they don't and shouldn't trust them fully yet. They beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in Milwaukee in Game 6 and dethroned the champions in Game 7 in Boston. They took Game 7 out of the Miami heat. Washburn: No offense when it came time for big games, the Celtics panicked and stopped. This is the sixth trip to the final for Curry, Klay Thompson and the carcass of Draymond Green. You've seen everything. Curry knows how to break hearts, wills and championship dreams. Playing with the Warriors is a dangerous game. The Celtics could have had the Warriors on the ropes. Instead, they're back in the fight. I suppose if the Celtics are going to do that, if Banner 18 becomes a reality this year, they're going to do it their way - at the highest possible difficulty. But in Game 4, the Celtics were annoying at their worst.

Read

Stamkos scores twice, Lightning defeats Rangers 2-1 in Game 6

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Steven Stamkos has scored two goals and the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning is in the Stanley Cup Finals for the third straight season after defeating the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night. Stamkos gave the Lightning a definitive lead in the third period, just 21 seconds after New York's Frank Vatrano scored in the penalty area on a power play with the Lightning captain... (Author: Gardener)

Rangers 2-1Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, center, celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers with Jan Rutta, right, and Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat, left, during the second period in Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals , Saturday , June 11, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Steven Stamkos has scored two goals and the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning is in the Stanley Cup Finals for the third straight season after defeating the New York Rangers 2 :1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) shows left wing Pat Maroon (14) the Prince of Wales trophy after the team defeated the New York Rangers during Game 6 of the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals Saturday, May 11 in Tampa, Florida. The Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Finals. Stamkos gave the Lightning a definitive lead in the third period just 21 seconds after New York's Frank Vatrano scored on a power play with the Lightning captain in the box for a save. Members of the Tampa Bay Lightning pose with the Prince of Wales trophy after winning New York Rangers Game 6 of the Eastern NHL Hockey Stanley Cup playoffs on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Tampa, Fla defeated Conference Finals. The Lightning advanced to the Stanley Cup finals. Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat set up the winning goal with 6 1/2 minutes left, the puck deflecting off Stamko's knee into the net after Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin stopped the first shot. Midway through the second half, Stamkos also scored with a palm shot from the top of the right circle. Andrei Vasilevskiy finished the tournament with 20 saves for the Lightning, who won the series 4-2 - four straight wins after losing their first two games away - to reach the Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche. The Lightning are the first team to make three straight Cup finals since Edmonton, from 1983-85. They are trying to become the first to win three straight championships since the New York Islanders won four straight from 1980-83. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) holds up the Prince of Wales trophy after the team defeated the New York Rangers during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference NHL Hockey Stanley Cup playoffs on Saturday, June 11, 2022 , in Tampa, Florida, Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Finals. Rangers, down 3-2 in the third consecutive round, were 5-0 in eliminations this postseason ahead of Saturday night. The only teams to win six or more elimination games in a single postseason were the 1975 New York Islanders (eight), the 2014 Los Angeles Kings (seven), and the 2003 Minnesota Wild (six). The Rangers lost three of their first four games before winning three straight elimination games to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round. They lost the first two on the road in Carolina before rebounding to oust the Hurricanes in seven games and reach the East Finals. New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) splashes water on his face after scoring in the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Saturday, 11 , in Tampa, Fla . It was a different story on Saturday night as the Lightning limited New York's scoring chances while overtaking the Rangers 31-21. He only had seven shots in the opening stages, six in the second and eight in the third. Shesterkin, meanwhile, stopped 29 of 31 shots and made one big save after another to give New York a chance. NOTES: The Lightning again played without forward Brayden Point, who has missed 10 games since suffering a lower body injury in Tampa Bay's Game 7 win over Toronto in the first round. In the last two postseasons, he was the NHL's leading scorer. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was eliminated in the second half after apparently being elbowed in the head by New York's Alexis Lafreniere. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) gets a shot on New York Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider (45) during the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs Conference, Saturday, June 11, 2022, from Tampa, Fla.

Read

Rangers' Barclay Goodrow knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup

When Rangers take on Lightning in Game 6, Goodrow knows who he's up against, having played for Tampa Bay when they won their last two trophies (Author: Gardener)

Rangers— The Tampa Bay Lightning, for whom he experienced some of the happiest moments of his NHL career, the team he bled for, bonded with and won two Stanley Cups with, stood in Barclay Goodrow's way when he for the third time in a row drove to the USA Stanley Cup final on Saturday evening. Or at least that's what he said on Friday, the day before the Rangers and Lightning faced off in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, with the Rangers trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and needing to win by a game 7 on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. "I mean, I want to win the trophy," Goodrow said when asked if he could play his old team. Whether it's those guys, Carolina, Pittsburgh, you know, I don't really care.” Goodrow's face was stone as he spoke, which was a different expression from his first trip to his old home on New Year's Eve when the Rangers played the Lightning for the first time in the regular season. That was the day Goodrow got his second Stanley Cup ring from the Lightning after being traded to the Rangers over the summer as part of Tampa Bay to clean up their salary cap situation. Goodrow beamed from ear to ear when Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper gave him his ring that day, and he scored twice that night in Rangers' 4-3 win. The Lightning had to lay off their entire third line from the Stanley Cup team to get under the NHL's $81.5 million salary cap, and Goodrow ended up with the Rangers for the cost of a seventh-round pick in the Last Summer's Draft. He then signed a six-year, $21.85 million deal to bring Rangers a mix of guts, experience and leadership to their young team. "He's a leader," Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said Saturday after Rangers' brief optional morning ice skate. Yes, but he's still an important player when he's out there playing. He helps other players on our team play the game properly. Gallant supported Goodrow's assertion that the player wouldn't conflict or go insane from playing the Lightning anyway. And Goodrow started a little melee towards the end of Game 1 of the series when he checked Lightning forward Brandon Hagel and players paired with some throwing shots. Hagel wasn't Goodrow's teammate in Tampa, but Goodrow exchanged some heated words with former teammate Pat Maroon. Of course, Goodrow had insights into his old team that Rangers no doubt found valuable throughout the series. And he understood more than any of his current teammates the tremendous challenge Rangers faced as they attempted to extend the streak on Saturday. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy scored a last-round shutout against the Florida Panthers -- the team with the most goals in the regular season -- in the final game of Lightning's Sweep of the Panthers. "Obviously they were there," Goodrow said of Tampa Bay as they seek a fourth win in a row. "They know what they have to do to win a game, to end a streak." But Goodrow, who wasn't rambling before the start of the streak, said he'd overtake Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin in every goalie match Beating Vasilevskiy was it He will not spend time praising his old team for their past performances. He's a Ranger now, and on Saturday, all Lightning represented to him was the obstacle the Rangers had to overcome to get where they wanted to go. "We have full confidence in our group and we believe if we do our best we will have our chances," he said. What matters is that we play our game and do our best.”

Read

Rangers offense sparks RISP struggles to spark a comeback in a rare poor start from Martin Perez

CHICAGO -- After the final out and comeback, Rangers designated hitter Kole Calhoun walked up to starting pitcher Martín Pérez, put his arms on his pitcher's shoulders and then patted him on the back. Hey, even the best player on a team can use a little relief from time to time. Considering where the Rangers went in Saturday's game against the White Sox, the result was... (Author: Gardener)

RISPCHICAGO -- After the final out and comeback, Rangers designated hitter Kole Calhoun walked up to starting pitcher Martín Pérez, put his arms on his pitcher's shoulders and then patted him on the back. Considering where the Rangers went in Saturday's game against the White Sox, the result was pretty surprising. A team that struggled to find an offensive spark in June found plenty. And a pitcher who was one of the best in the league had his worst start to the season — and yet Rangers found a way to emerge victorious. Finals: Rangers 11, White Sox 9 in 10 innings - a result not necessarily expected when Rangers were eliminated five times in the fifth inning. "It's kind of like how much fight do you have?" said Rangers replacement Matt Moore, who had five strikeouts in two innings and improved to 3-0 in the season. That's the easiest thing: just go home and take your beating, but these guys kept fighting." Nathaniel Lowe recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game, including a go-ahead double in the top of the 10th. innings Brad Miller reached base four times in his second game outside of the IL. Adolis García started it all with a triple home run in the fifth for his 12th of the season and his second in as many games. Saturday's game marked the seventh time Rangers have won in Pérez's last eight starts. Pérez - the AL's ERA leader heading into Saturday - gave up 12 hits against the White Sox, tying a career high and allowing a season-high six earned runs over five innings. He threw 101 pitches, meaning he threw as many pitches as the Rangers were hoping for, especially after a full bullpen day in the game before. "I know they weren't his best numbers, but of course we appreciated what he showed our team - the heart he had out there to just give everything to the end," said Rangers manager Chris woodward . Easier said than done for a team that went 2-7 into Saturday's game in June and rallied in a 0-for-25 series with runners in goal position. They had eight strikeouts against White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito in four innings, trailing 5-0. The Rangers responded quickly by loading the bases. Shortstop Corey Seager almost hit a grand slam, but his ball was caught in left midfield in the warning lane. Then García sent a triple home run 109 miles from his bat and over the left field fence. "Our team needed that energy and that spark," García said through a translator. And while the Rangers offense faltered, the bullpen kept the White Sox at bay. They didn't allow the White Sox to score from the sixth through the ninth innings. Jesus Tinoco hit the side in his one inning, meaning he's hit all four hitters he faces with Rangers since his call-up on Friday. The White Sox scored two runs in 10th place, but Joe Barlow was eventually able to save. "That set the tone and gave our offense a lot of confidence to say, 'Hey, if we get some runs and get back in that thing, they're going to hold them,'" Woodward said. Earlier in this series, Woodward categorized recent struggles as the ups and downs of the season. They needed a bounce back game, especially on offense, and on a day when their ace was struggling, they still found it. "In the end it helps to do what we're used to," Moore said of the team's offensive performance. "If we're used to it, we expect it to happen tomorrow night. I think that's part of the growth that happens when you become a good club. Smith on the mend: Woodward said rookie infielder Josh Smith is doing better after spraining his shoulder and ending up on the IL a week ago. In short, Rangers broke their 0-to-25 streak with runners in goal position in the first inning of Saturday's game. Seager hit a line drive down the middle after Marcus Semien had a lead-off double. It didn't result in a run scored, however... García is now linked with Seager for the team lead on home runs with 12... White Sox fans chanted "Fire Tony" over White Sox manager Tony La Russa in the 10th as the Rangers hit four runs for leadership.

Read

Who will win Rangers-Lightning Game 6?

What does Tampa Bay have to do to close it? What will New York do to counter? (Author: Gardener)

Rangers-Lightning Game 6The 2022 NHL Eastern Conference Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers has advanced to Game 6 with two-time Stanley Cup champions Lightning holding a 3-2 lead. The Colorado Avalanche are expecting the series winner, who could be the Lightning after Saturday night's game. What does Tampa Bay have to do to close it? What will New York do to counter? The Stories Behind the Remaining Teams' Goal Songs Emily Kaplan, NHL reporter: The Lightning have returned to their dominant form after a slow start to the series. That nine-day break between series was no joke — and I'm sure we'll be talking about it for Colorado when the Stanley Cup Finals get underway. The Lightning would force things when things didn't go their way and try to make something out of thin air, and they've cleaned that up since the middle of Game 2 (the turning point in this series). They need to keep boxing out Rangers players in front of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy - because as long as Vasilevskiy looks clean, he'll stop almost anything - and keep generating quick defensive breakouts. These guys are becoming the kings of late-game drama, scoring three winners in under two minutes this postseason. Ondrej Palat scored two of those goals and as he told me after Game 5: If they play like they did in Game 4, they are confident that they can finish it at home. Arda Ocal, NHL host: They looked sluggish in the first two games of this series against Rangers, but the long gap between series and the momentum in Rangers' stride probably had something to do with it. Game 6 truly felt like a "playoff game" as both defenses were stingy, and Tampa Bay looked particularly solid defensively throughout the game. If this continues, if the Lightning match New York for speed and Vasilevskiy pulls off another great performance, this one could finish at six. Kristen Shilton, NHL Reporter: Tampa Bay weathered an early storm (no pun intended) with the Rangers coming to a head after that Game 7 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round. The last-minute goal Tampa Bay scored in Game 3 really got them going, and New York hasn't recovered. The Blitz's defensive habit has really improved over the past few games; they take part of the burden from Vasilevskiy to save her; and even if they don't score many goals, they score when it counts. To wrap things up on Saturday, look for more timely contributions from Tampa Bay's deep talent and expect Vasilevskiy to shut the door once more. Also, count on coach Jon Cooper behind the bench to use the home ice to his advantage - and have a trick or two up his sleeve to throw Rangers off balance. Greg Wyshynski, NHL Reporter: Cooper explained why this series went the way it did. The Rangers had the better game in Games 1 and 2 because the Lightning were physically and mentally unfit after a nine-day break between rounds. He knew the sacking hurt Vasilevskiy the most, and he's been their best player since Game 2, owning a .956 save percentage (86 saves from 90 countershots) in the last three games of the series. As the Lightning made 48 combined turnovers in the first two games of the series, the coach — loud and emphatic behind the scenes — reminded them not to make plays that aren't there. They have signed a total of 29 in the last three games. They only get better and better as the series progresses, while the Rangers look physically exhausted. Continue their championship in the 5-on-5 where the Rangers have scored twice since the first half of Game 2 and stay away from the penalty area like they have in the last two games and the Lightning will get their ticket to Denver punch. Kaplan: As former Rangers player Brandon Dubinsky hinted on Twitter, maybe we need a guarantee from Mika Zibanejad. But that doesn't sit well with these Rangers, who never go low on losses or high on wins. Adam Fox told me last round that maybe it's the naivety of the team - the players don't let the moment get the best of them. It explains how they stand 5-0 in potential elimination games this postseason. To win Game 6, the Rangers have to do all of the little things that made them successful in Games 1 and 2: win the puck fights on the cushions, which prevents the Lightning from forechecking, get some pucks in the net (and getting more traffic in front of Vasilevskiy) and letting Zibanejad do his thing in the power play instead of quotes to the media. Öcal: As the slogan says, there is no stopping in New York. They twice trailed the Pittsburgh Penguins by multiple goals in elimination games, but rallied to win three straight elimination games. They were the only team to defeat the Hurricanes at home (and eliminate them from the playoffs). They now face Andrei Vasilevskiy, the "Mr. Series-clinching" who has six career shutouts in this type of games, but... "There's No Quit in New York!" If there's one scenario where a team could get off the mat and force a Game 7, it's these Rangers this postseason. Shilton: New York became the first team this postseason to beat Carolina at home, and they did so in Game 7. That's energy worth channeling in Game 6 against Tampa Bay. New York was good early in this series, keeping the puck away from Tampa Bay's top skaters and offensively jumping on the Lightning to disrupt their rhythm. Making Tampa Bay uncomfortable isn't easy, but New York has had some success with it and achieved results to match. Physically challenging the Lightning, shooting pucks at Vasilevskiy, and establishing a good forecheck will help New York bring this series home. The most important factor, however, will be maintaining the belief that no matter what the Lightning have accomplished in the past, it doesn't necessarily dictate the future. The Rangers must avoid self-sabotaging themselves by thinking too much about Tampa Bay's championship history. The Rangers have played a lot of hockey and expended a lot of energy this postseason, with two seven-game series that have seen them collect on multiple occasions. It is a testament to their steadfastness that two of their last three losses have been one shot away games lost at the end of regulation. So on that Game 6 counterattack, Rangers need goalie Igor Shesterkin to limit the Lightning to a goal or less, and they need to get the extra goal they haven't been able to get in their last three losses. The best way to get there is through the power play, where Rangers still lead the playoffs in efficiency (31.5%) but have only had 3 minutes and 15 seconds of power play ice time in their last two games. Kaplan: Rangers will play tight and desperate, but I think the Lightning will finish the game 3-1 on home ice. Shilton: New York really exceeded expectations in these playoffs. But I like Tampa Bay at home. Wyshynski: Blitz, 4-1. It remains "No Quit in New York". It's just that the Lightning will have achieved the mandatory four wins, meaning the series is over, as is the Rangers season.

Read

Rangers offense sparks RISP struggles to spark a comeback in a rare poor start from Martin Perez

CHICAGO -- With the final game over and the comeback complete, Rangers-designated hitter Kole Calhoun walked up to starting pitcher Martín Pérez and put... (Author: Gardener)

RISPCHICAGO -- After the final out and comeback, Rangers designated hitter Kole Calhoun walked up to starting pitcher Martín Pérez, put his arms on his pitcher's shoulders and then patted him on the back. Considering where the Rangers went in Saturday's game against the White Sox, the result was pretty surprising. A team that struggled to find an offensive spark in June found plenty. And a pitcher who was one of the best in the league had his worst start to the season — and yet Rangers found a way to emerge victorious. Finals: Rangers 11, White Sox 9 in 10 innings - a result not necessarily expected when Rangers were eliminated five times in the fifth inning. "It's kind of like how much fight do you have?" said Rangers replacement Matt Moore, who had five strikeouts in two innings and improved to 3-0 in the season. That's the easiest thing: just go home and take your beating, but these guys kept fighting." Nathaniel Lowe recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game, including a go-ahead double in the top of the 10th. innings Brad Miller reached base four times in his second game outside of the IL. Adolis García started it all with a triple home run in the fifth for his 12th of the season and his second in as many games. Saturday's game marked the seventh time Rangers have won in Pérez's last eight starts. Pérez - the AL's ERA leader heading into Saturday - gave up 12 hits against the White Sox, tying a career high and allowing a season-high six earned runs over five innings. He threw 101 pitches, meaning he threw as many pitches as the Rangers were hoping for, especially after a full bullpen day in the game before. "I know they weren't his best numbers, but of course we appreciated what he showed our team - the heart he had out there to just give everything to the end," said Rangers manager Chris woodward . Easier said than done for a team that went 2-7 into Saturday's game in June and rallied in a 0-for-25 series with runners in goal position. They had eight strikeouts against White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito in four innings, trailing 5-0. The Rangers responded quickly by loading the bases. Shortstop Corey Seager almost hit a grand slam, but his ball was caught in left midfield in the warning lane. Then García sent a triple home run 109 miles from his bat and over the left field fence. "Our team needed that energy and that spark," García said through a translator. And while the Rangers offense faltered, the bullpen kept the White Sox at bay. They didn't allow the White Sox to score from the sixth through the ninth innings. Jesus Tinoco hit the side in his one inning, meaning he's hit all four hitters he faces with Rangers since his call-up on Friday. The White Sox scored two runs in 10th place, but Joe Barlow was eventually able to save. "That set the tone and gave our offense a lot of confidence to say, 'Hey, if we get some runs and get back in that thing, they're going to hold them,'" Woodward said. Earlier in this series, Woodward categorized recent struggles as the ups and downs of the season. They needed a bounce back game, especially on offense, and on a day when their ace was struggling, they still found it. "In the end it helps to do what we're used to," Moore said of the team's offensive performance. "If we're used to it, we expect it to happen tomorrow night. I think that's part of the growth that happens when you become a good club. Smith on the mend: Woodward said rookie infielder Josh Smith is doing better after spraining his shoulder and ending up on the IL a week ago. In short, Rangers broke their 0-to-25 streak with runners in goal position in the first inning of Saturday's game. Seager hit a line drive down the middle after Marcus Semien had a lead-off double. It didn't result in a run scored, however... García is now linked with Seager for the team lead on home runs with 12... White Sox fans chanted "Fire Tony" over White Sox manager Tony La Russa in the 10th as the Rangers hit four runs for leadership.

Read

Rangers have unshakable faith in Igor Shesterkin in goal

Shesterkin has been strong in all playoff eliminators, but his Lightning counterpart Andrei Vasilevskiy really defined goalie greatness (Author: Gardener)

Shesterkin— Being great means playing great in the biggest moments and convincing teammates that they can trust that this will be the case. The Russian goaltender did his best all season to stop the Rangers against two-time defending champions Lightning in Game 6 of Saturday night's Eastern Conference Finals at the Amalie Arena as the Blueshirts face a sixth playoff exit in this run. "He's been a big, big part of our team all year," said coach Gerard Gallant. He is a candidate for the Vezina Trophy. So obviously he was a big part of our group. He played really well. He played well. Two pucks he didn't see last night [in Thursday night's 3-1 loss in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden]. The Rangers went 5–0 in the first two rounds in eliminations, bouncing back from a 3–1 series deficit against the Penguins in the first round, and then winning games 6 and 7 against the Hurricanes in the second round. Shesterkin was a big reason for that, of course, as he had a 2.57 goals-against average and a .930 percent save in those five games. But Shesterkin's counterpart in that series, fellow Russian Andrei Vasilevskiy, has truly defined goalkeeping greatness by guiding his team to 10 straight playoff series wins in their cup runs. This is especially true in games where the Lightning had a chance to win a streak. Overall, Vasilevskiy is 12-9 in potential series win games. But he has compiled a 1.65 GAA and a .942 save percentage in those contests with an NHL-record six shutouts. Daily NHL media notes highlighted that Vasilevskiy had conceded just one goal in his last three potential matches with a .33 GAA, .990 save percentage and two shutouts. Curiously, the NHL did not mention Vasilevskiy's 18 saves in a 1-0 win over the Islanders in Game 7 of the 2021 Conference Finals. Of course, in elimination games or series winning games, it never depends on one player, no matter how well a goalkeeper can play. "That's the life of a goalkeeper," Henrik Lundqvist, the former Rangers legend, used to say. "No responsibility other than everyone else," Gallant said. I don't go up to him and say, 'Igor, you have to be the best player on the ice.' He does his job every night." To be fair, Gallant leaves most of day-to-day communication with Shesterkin to goalkeeping coach Benoit Allaire. Either way, Shesterkin understands his importance to the group's efforts. Andrew Copp traded from the Jets to Rangers on March 21 and was immediately impressed by Shesterkin's confidence. "Throughout the season, you kind of heard how well he's playing," Copp said. "I didn't see Rangers play until February. Just a lot of self-confidence. “You see him playing with his puck handling. It just gives the team back there a lot of confidence that they can save us even if mistakes are made. Most notably, the way he plays the puck changes the way teams pre-screen and how easily we can break the puck out sometimes. No doubt his teammates know that Shesterkin is great. But his challenge in this conference final should be bigger than Vasilevskiy. And Vasilevskiy defines greatness for playoff goalies.

Read