The Lightning will ride a pair of Steven Stamkos goals all the way back to the Stanley Cup Final for the third-consecutive year.
With Stamkos’ two goals leading the way, the Bolts eliminated the Rangers thanks to a 2-1 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final at AMALIE Arena on Saturday.
Box Score | Highlights
Stamkos opened the scoring at 10:43 of the second period when he snapped a wrist shot past Igor Shesterkin at the far post to stake Tampa Bay to the lead.
In the third, the Rangers briefly tied the game with a power play goal, but Stamkos and the Bolts had a quick answer. Just 21 seconds later, Stamkos converted on an odd man rush to put the Lightning in front for good with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation.
From there, Andrei Vasilevskiy did the rest, keeping New York from scoring a second equalizer. Vasilevskiy finished with the night with 21 saves.
At the other end of the ice, Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves to keep his team in the game with a chance even as the Bolts dominated play for long stretches.
Up next is a date with the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final. Game 1 is set for Wednesday night in Denver.
TBL 1, NYR 0
10:43 Steven Stamkos (8) – Ondrej Palat, Mikhail Sergachev
The Lightning struck for the game-opening tally just past the midway point of the second period on a seemingly innocent rush. The Rangers appeared to be well-positioned to defend Steven Stamkos with the puck inside the blue line, but Stamkos cut wide on Ryan Lindgren to the top of the right circle and snapped off a wrist shot that beat Igor Shesterkin to the far side.
TBL 1, NYR 1
13:07 Frank Vatrano (5) – Andrew Copp – PPG
New York cashed in on their second power play of the third period to level the score at one. Andrew Copp won an offensive zone faceoff back to Frank Vatrano and he blasted a slapshot past Andrei Vasilevskiy for the equalizer.
TBL 2, NYR 1
13:28 Steven Stamkos (9) – Nikita KucherovOndrej Palat
It took Stamkos 21 seconds to atone for taking the penalty that led to the Rangers’ goal moments previous. A feed from Ondrej Palat out of the corner to Nikita Kucherov on the right wing sprung Tampa Bay on an odd man rush. Kucherov had Stamkos driving to the front of the net and put a pass right on his stick. Stamkos’ shot was initially stopped by Shesterkin, but the puck popped out of his glove, and as he skated by, Stamkos knocked it into the net for the game-winner.