Lightning ECF: 5 Questions Heading Into Eastern Conference Final and Series Predictions

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 31: Corey Perry #10 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers during the third period at the Amalie Arena on December 31, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 31: Corey Perry #10 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers during the third period at the Amalie Arena on December 31, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 02: Ryan Strome #16 of the New York Rangers celebrates his first period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on January 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 02: Ryan Strome #16 of the New York Rangers celebrates his first period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on January 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Will the Rangers regular season domination of the Bolts carryover to the playoffs?

A short view back to the past. The Lightning were 0-3 against the Rangers during the regular season and were largely held in check offensively. In those three games, New York’s goaltender, Igor Shesterkin, only surrendered 4 goals to Tampa Bay, including one shutout.

The short answer to whether the Rangers will continue have their way over the Lightning is that the playoffs is a different animal, and the regular season means nothing. But look closer and we will see that a lot has changed for the Lightning since their last meeting with the Rangers on March 19.

That March 19 game was Brandon Hagel’s first with the team, and Nick Paul was still an Ottawa Senator.

Look back further to the New Year’s Eve and January 2 games and remember that Nikita Kucherov missed both of them while still recovering from surgery on a lower body injury sustained in October.

To be fair to the Rangers, they haven’t been idle since these meetings either. They added Andrew Copp and Justin Braun to their roster at the trade deadline and both have become reliable contributors for them since.

Time will tell but considering how much has changed for both teams since their previous meetings this season, it looks like it’s a clean slate for both teams when it comes to drawing conclusions on how they will match up.