The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-0 in Game 7 to advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 2004. Ben Bishop became the first goalie in NHL history to post a shutout in his first two Game 7 starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Bishop was supported by goals from Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat.
Tampa Bay, which eliminated the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens in the first two rounds before beating the Rangers, is the first team to ever reach the Stanley Cup finals by defeating three Original Six teams.
Bishop, defense checkmate the King
Bishop saved all 22 shots he faced, and the Rangers did not score in the last 145 minutes and 43 seconds on their home ice dating back to Game 2. The Lightning defense was great in front of Bishop, as the Rangers had 53 shot attempts, 31 of which either missed the net or got blocked (41.5 percent shooting efficiency).
The Rangers relied heavily on rebounds throughout the postseason, scoring 18 goals on second chances -- twice as many as any other team. New York scored nine goals off rebounds in the Eastern Conference finals but failed to get many initial chances in Game 7. Per war-on-ice.com, only three of the 22 shots on goal for the Rangers came from the slot or low slot (the area on the ice directly in front of the net). In total, the Rangers had 13 scoring chances, eight fewer than Tampa Bay.
According to Elias, Bishop is only the third goalie in Stanley Cup playoffs history to post two Game 7 shutouts in a single postseason, joining Tim Thomas (2011) and Patrick Roy (2002).
Triplets on fire
After being held without a shot on goal in the first period, the line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, also known as the "Triplets," finally broke through in the final period. Palat scored 11:17 into the third, giving the Lightning a 2-0 lead they did not surrender.
The "Triplets" line has scored 28 of Tampa's 55 goals in the 2015 playoffs. Johnson has 12 goals, leading all scorers, Kucherov has nine and Palat has seven. The line has accounted for more than half of the Lightning's goals this postseason. In this series against the Rangers, the Triplets combined for 11 goals.
Lundqvist solid in loss
Despite taking the loss, Henrik Lundqvist had a solid performance in Game 7. He saved 23 of 25 shots (.920 save percentage) and stopped all six shots he faced from the slot or low slot. Lundqvist was able to hold the Lightning scoreless on nine scoring chances in those areas.
Lundqvist is now 6-2 in Game 7s in his career with a 1.10 goals-against average.
The Rangers are now 7-1 all-time at home in Game 7s. Overall, New York had won each of its past six Game 7s before Friday, tied for the longest streak in Stanley Cup playoffs history.