Tampa Bay Lightning Are Eastern Conference Champions


0. 95. 2. 23. Final

The Tampa Bay Lightning has overcome all of the odds and have defeated the New York Rangers 2-0 to become the Eastern Conference Champions!!

The Tampa Bay Lightning has faced all manner of adversity this season, but their performance tonight but all of the doubts to rest as the Lightning charged into Madison Square Garden and shut out the New York Rangers 2-0 to become the Eastern Conference Champions and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals!

The Tampa Bay Lightning was well aware that everything was on the line when the puck dropped tonight at Madison Square Garden. Win and they would officially be headed to their date with destiny, lose and they would experience the bitter taste of defeat.

Both teams hit the ice with purpose tonight. Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault seemed to take a page out of Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper’s playbook when he decided to hit the ice with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen tonight.

The Tampa Bay Lightning would make some seriously solid runs at the Rangers net early in the first period, but each and every one of them would be turned away by Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. At the same time, Lightning netminder Ben Bishop would return the favor to the Blue Shirts.

The Lightning clearly outshot the Rangers in the first period, going 9-5 in favor of the Tampa Bay Lightning. As we mentioned before, despite their best efforts Lundqvist would keep the puck out of the back of the net. It was apparent from the moment the puck dropped that this was going to be a long night.

When the teams would hit the ice for the second period, we would see much of the same as the first period. Through the first 10 minutes of the second period, we would still remain scoreless. This is not for lack of trying, both sides of the ice have a lot of fight in them as the pressure of the game continues to mount.

The Rangers would get not one, but two opportunities on the Power Play in the first ten minutes of the second period. One would come after a weak call on Brenden Morrow for Hooking on Rick Nash. The other would come as the Tampa Bay Lightning was assessed a bench minor for Too Many Men on the Ice.

Thankfully for the Lightning, the Rangers found themselves unable to capitalize on their opportunities.

As the period crossed the halfway point in the period, Tampa Bay Lightning fans witnessed something they haven’t seen in quite some time. Chris Kreider was absolutely leveled in the neutral zone by Matt Carle. That’s right ladies and gentlemen…Matt Carle seriously knocked Kreider on his behind. Way to go, Carle!

As the seconds continued to tick off of the clock, this game became more and more of a nail-biter. The Triplets put some of the most incredible pressure we have seen all season long on Henrik Lundqvist, but much to the aggravation of Lightning fans everywhere, he manages to keep the puck out of the net.

If the Tampa Bay Lightning can keep this amount of pressure on Lundqvist he is bound to break eventually, it is only a matter of time. Unfortunately, that time would not come in the first two periods of play. When the buzzer would sound, we would still be scoreless in Game 7.

Once again, the Lightning led the Rangers in shots on goal, going 19-11. At the same time, the Rangers would continue to dominate the Lightning in the faceoff circle. This is unusual considering the prowess we usually see from players like Tyler Johnson and Valtteri Filppula in that realm.

When the puck dropped in the third period, the Tampa Bay Lightning knew that they had to make their move. With only 20 minutes left in the game, it was now or never. Thankfully for the Tampa Bay Lightning and all the fans waiting for them back here in the Bolts Nation, the Lightning chose now.

Just 1:54 into the third period, Alex Killorn shows his killer side as he finds the five-hole of Henrik Lundqvist to give the Tampa Bay Lightning that ever-so-important first blood.

It wasn’t until after the halfway point in the period that we would see another puck make its way to the back of the net. This time it would be Ondrej Palat whose persistence would pay off as he let loose a snap shot that made its way past the glove side of Henrik Lundqvist and into the back of the net.

If you caught a glimpse of Lundqvist’s face as he ushered the puck out of the net, it was plain to see that the offensive pressure set forth by the Tampa Bay Lightning was getting into his head. Could this goal be the one that brought the King to his knees?

The Tampa Bay Lightning would keep the pressure on the Rangers for the remainder of the game. Just over three minutes left in the game and the New York Rangers elected to pull goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in lieu of an extra attacker. Unfortunately for the New York Rangers, it would all be for not.

After the most nerve wracking 60 minutes of hockey would come to a close, the Tampa Bay Lightning would shut out the New York Rangers 2-0 at Madison Square Garden and the Lightning would officially become the Eastern Conference Champions.

We will say this, despite the fact that he let in two goals tonight, Henrik Lundqvist played one hell of a game. He has been solid all season long and is deserving of the praise given to him by his team, his fans, and everyone else in the big, wide world of hockey.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has secured their date with destiny. The next stage in their journey begins on June 3rd when the Stanley Cup Finals kick off. Tomorrow night, the Lightning will learn whether they will play the Anaheim Ducks or the Chicago Blackhawks. If the Ducks win, they will have home ice advantage. Should the Blackhawks win; the Tampa Bay Lightning will have home ice advantage.

The final piece in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s journey officially begins on Wednesday night. They will need to show the same aggressiveness and defensive-minded play that they used against the New York Rangers tonight if they want to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Hockey Paradise.

The Tampa Bay Lightning is just four wins away from achieving their dream! Are you ready to Be The Thunder for the final seven (if necessary) games this season? You can bet your bottom dollar we here at Bolts By The Bay are ready!!!

We will leave you with these two words: We Believe!!!

Next: Stanley Cup Finals Schedule Officially Announced

More from Bolts by the Bay