Game 4: Bolts looking for second series win over Rangers

Tampa Bay trails 2-1 in the series against New York.

TAMPA, Florida— 10 Tampa Bay will keep you posted on the latest score during the game.

Live Blog

Objective 3:11. Rangers score their first goal of the night. The Bolts lead 3-1.

15:04 Goal! Steven Stamkos extends the Lightning’s lead to make it 3-0! Assisted by Jan Rutta and Ondrej Palat.

20:00 The third period begins.

00:00 The second period ends. Pass 2-0!

6:53 Goal! Nikita Kucherov scores to double the lead! Assisted by Jan Rutta and Ondrej Palat.

20:00 The second period is on!

00:00 End of the first period. The Bolts lead 1-0.

12:58 The umpires settle the dead play. Lightning continues with 1:25 left on the power play.

12:58 Referees examine the puck in the blue. He ended up under Shesterkin’s pads.

5:22 p.m. Goal! Pat Maroon scores, assisted by Zach Bogosian and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

It took 51 shots, but the Tampa Bay find ways are still in contention for the Eastern Conference title.

Sure, they could have lost Game 3 and won four straight, but no NHL team has ever overcome that deficit in the Conference Finals. So it’s safe to say the Bolts saved their season in the last minute thanks to Ondrej Palat’s winning goal.

“He has this ability to play this blue collar game with white collar and that’s a great trait to have,” head coach Jon Cooper said.

Palat found the back of the net, but the real star of this game was Nikita Kucherov who slipped a backhand pass directly into Palat’s boards.

Thanks to these theatrical performances, the Lightning became the sixth team in NHL history to score multiple game-winning goals in the final minute of regulation time.

Kucherov had ridiculous assists on both.

“I think for everyone it’s important to step up and elevate your game, mine too. You are down 2-0. You play at home. You want to play better than you did in the first two,” Kucherov said.

The former Hart Trophy winner leads the team with 20 post-season points. He’s the first Lightning player to reach 50 playoff goals and will need to continue to shine if this team has a chance of coming back against New York.

While Palat’s goal was the difference on the scoreboard, the Tampa Bay Lightning worked hard throughout the game to be able to win this contest.

There are three things the Bolts did well that could carry over into Thursday’s tilt with the Rangers.

First, they peppered Igor Shesterkin with gunfire.

“You know, he’s a great goalie and the first two games we didn’t shoot enough,” Palat said. “So, you know, the message was, we gotta shoot more. We gotta get in front of his eyes a little bit more.”

The Rangers were a little discouraged by this, especially since the Bolts were given two penalties for goalie interference when cutting off Vézina’s eventual winner.

The hostility could escalate, but the Bolts aren’t changing their game plan.

“There’s always that fine line. You know, it’s about looking the other way,” Corey Perry said. “We’re going to go for it. We’re going to make it difficult. It’s just our identity as a team.”

The Lightning managed to get three against Igor last night, but the Bolts have only scored three times in the entire series when they don’t have the man advantage.

Another important winning formula for the Lightning is puck management. In the first two games, the team turned the puck over 20 times. It’s almost unheard of in this team. The number of gifts dropped to six in Game 3 and that made a huge difference.

“You have to get the pucks behind their defense and basically put on the work boots and go get them,” Cooper said. “So you can start doing some of the things that, you know, we plan to do. But if you knock the puck down, that’s a recipe for disaster.”

The Lightning are fully aware that they have to win another contest to really feel like I’m back in this series. It took a few games to rev the engine, they figured out how to get into the win column, and now they just have to put in the same kind of effort.

“There’s no way we can hang up our hats because we scored a goal with 42 seconds left and won a hockey game that, ‘oh, we’re good.’ This game had extra time, probably written all over it and who knows what will happen then We still have to go out and play and it would be, you know, amateurish of us to think that because we mowed a game at the end that it’s fine,” Cooper said.

Brayden Point was training at Amalie Arena Monday afternoon, but Cooper confirms he won’t play in Game 4 scheduled for Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

Amanda J. Marsh