Palat scores late, Lightning beat Rangers 3-2 in Game 3 | Sports News

By FRED GOODALL, AP Sports Journalist

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ondrej Palat scored with 42 seconds left and the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Sunday to cut their deficit in the Conference Finals. East at 2-1.

Palat’s goal, from a nifty pass from Nikita Kucherov, capped a comeback that began after Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored power-play goals in just over two minutes in the second period to give a 2 lead. -0 to the Rangers.

Facing the prospect of falling behind 3-0 in a streak that began with a pair of road losses, the Lightning rallied with Kucherov scoring on the power play in the second period and Steven Stamkos firing a shot past the goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin from the left. circle at the beginning of the third.

Game 4 is on Tuesday night, with New York still in a position to edge closer to a victory in its first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 2014.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves for the Lightning.

Artemi Panarin had two assists for the Rangers, and Adam Fox and Zibanejad had lead assists on power-play goals resulting from a pair of penalties fired by Shesterkin in the second period.

Tampa Bay’s Corey Perry was whistled for cutting first, and Riley Nash went to the penalty box for interference before Kreider’s goal made it 2-0 midway through the period.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper cited poor puck management and a lack of sense of urgency as factors for Tampa Bay who started the series slowly after a nine-day layoff the defending champions took. won with a second-round sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers.

None of those were a factor once the Lightning fell behind by two goals on Sunday.

Shesterkin finished with 48 saves but Rangers squandered a chance to regain control of the game when Kucherov took a four-minute penalty for Zibanejad with just over nine minutes remaining.

In fact, New York lost the men’s advantage when Jacob Trouba was later penalized for tripping Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn.

Shesterkin made save after save to keep Rangers from falling behind but failed to raise his glove high enough to stop the Palat winner.

Tampa Bay, which hadn’t lost a straight playoff game in three years before losing Games 1 and 2 at Madison Square Garden, rallied from a 3-2 deficit to win its first-round series against Toronto in seven games.

The Lightning swept the Florida Panthers, who had the NHL’s best regular season record, before running into trouble against the Rangers.

New York has also demonstrated its ability to bounce back from adversity in these playoffs.

Rangers overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat Pittsburgh in the first round, then bounced back after losing early games on the road and trailing Carolina 3-2 before winning another tough seven-game series to reach the final from the east.

NOTES: Lightning Brayden Point missed its sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. He hasn’t played since leaving the lineup in Tampa Bay’s Game 7 win over Toronto in the first round. … The Rangers lost to the Lightning for the first time this season. They entered Sunday 5-0 against the defending champion, with three of the victories coming during the regular season.

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