Two goals from Filip Chytil and 37 saves from Igor Shesterkin helped the New York Rangers take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-2.
The victory was New York’s seventh straight home playoff win, the longest single playoff streak in franchise history.
The Rangers’ postseason motto is “No quit in New York” and they showed that Wednesday night.
Their first two goals were soon matched by the Lightning, including Ondrej Palat‘s, which came 42 seconds after Frank Vatrano gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the second period.
But that was the closest the Lightning would be in Game 1 as New York scored three times in the second period to open the game up.
Chytil’s two goals came in a span of 5:34, both assisted by Alexis Lafrenière, and Andrew Copp and Mika Zibanejad scored in the third to put the cherry on top of a dominant win to begin the series.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, who hadn’t allowed more than a single goal in each of his previous five playoff starts, was in net for all six goals and had to listen to the Madison Square Garden crowd chant “Igor’s better!” multiple times during Game 1.
The Lightning netminder didn’t get help from his teammates, who showed signs of rust after a nine-day layoff following their Second Round win over the Florida Panthers.
Mistakes, there were plenty from the Lightning, and the Rangers, who didn’t have time for much rest after winning Game 7 over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, took advantage.
As Anthony Cirelli‘s clearing attempt was caught at the blue line by Adam Fox, it led to lots of Rangers movement within the offensive zone, and Chytil ultimately made them pay following a cross-ice pass from K'Andre Miller.