Tampa Bay Lightning Wins Game 3 vs New York Rangers to Keep Playoff Hopes Up

New York Rangers vs Tampa Bay Lightning

The New York Rangers vs Tampa Bay Lightning has been quite the series. In a rematch from the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers have the edge as they lead the series 2-1. In what looked to be a one-sided series in New York, things took a turn for the better in Tampa for the Lightning as they got back into the series. There is a lot to unpack in this series and excitement is visible between the two teams.

New York Rangers vs Tampa Bay Lightning So Far

The Kid Line

On the streets of Manhattan, they call them the kid line. This line consists of the 2019 second overall pick Kaapo Kakko, 2020 first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere, and 2017 21st overall pick Filip Chytil. These three youngsters have been one of the best lines for the Rangers these playoffs and especially in this series. It’s been enjoyable to watch and to see the growth of these young players as the stage gets more extensive.

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The kid line was the biggest line through the first two games. In Game 1, Chytil picked up where he left off in the second round. He scored two goals in Game 1, which increased his total to 5 in 3 games. He would also have an assist in Game 2. Lafreniere would finish Game 1 with two helpers. Kakko scored a goal for himself and has two points in the series.

This line drives possession for the team. According to Natural Stat Trick, ‘the kid line’ has led the team in Corsi For Percentage. In Game 1, they had a 42.86 CF% and had two goals as a line. The following game they had a 66.67 CF% and 1 goal as a line and in the next game they had a 53.85 CF%. These are all team highs and The Kid Line has really been a crucial part of the success of this series and getting in on the action.

Shesterkin vs Vasilevskiy

New York and Tampa Bay have the two best goaltenders in hockey. The hockey world was looking forward to the matchup between Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon. But to have the two best goalies in the world going head to head is must-see hockey. One has outplayed the other in this series. However, there is so much hockey left to play.

Igor Shesterkin

Igor Shesterkin has looked every bit of his Vezina nominee self this series. The backbone of the New York Rangers has been everything you could ask for when it comes to elite goaltending. Picking up where he left off in the second round, Shesterkin has posted some elite numbers.

To start the series and for the third game in a row, Shesterkin posted a 2.00 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage. In Game 1, he would have 2.05 goals saved above expected. He would go on to post a .935 save percentage in Game 2 and 1.03 goals saved above expected. Per Stat Muse, Shesterkin owns a .942 save percentage and 2.34 goals-against average. Throughout the postseason, Shesterkin leads all goalies with +16.9 goals saved above expected.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy

Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies in the entire world let alone the entire league. However, this series has not gone the same way as the last one. In the second round against the Florida Panthers, Vasilevskiy never allowed more than one goal and posted a 0.75 goals-against average and a .981 save percentage. That is almost perfect hockey performed by an elite goaltender.

In Game 1, Vasilevskiy allowed more goals in one game than the Panthers scored on him the entire series. Six goals would be scored on the Russian goaltender. After the game, he had -3.52 goals saved above expected in Game 1. After Game 2, it was -0.4 goals saved above expected.

For the first time since the sweep at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Andrei Vasilevskiy has lost back-to-back games. Going into Game 2, Vasilevskiy was 18-0 with a 1.49 goals-against average and five shutouts after suffering a loss. That changed against the Rangers. He bounced back in Game 3 and had a 3.72 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage. He will need to return to his elite level of play to reach the finals.

New York vs Tampa Bay Big Guns Stepping Up

New York and Tampa Bay have so much star power. And depth is always important when it’s playoff time. When the big guns are shut down by opposing defencemen, depth is always crucial to winning the Stanley Cup. In this series, each team has seen their big guns stepping up and playing critical roles in each of the games so far. There is no shortage of star power in this series, and it has been on display in the first three games.

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Rangers Not-So-Secret Weapons

For the Rangers, it starts with star center Mika Zibanejad. The center is currently riding an 8 game point streak that dates back to the second round. Zibanejad has 9 points in his last five games and has 5 points in this series. He has come through with the man advantage, scoring two power-play goals and six throughout the postseason.

Chris Kreider has chimed in with two goals and two assists. Defencemen Adam Fox has 5 assists and a total of 23 points which lead all defencemen. Artemi Panarin has come alive and has four points for himself.

Keys to Success For Tampa Bay

On the other end, the Tampa Bay Lightning have had their big boys come through. Despite losing the first two games, they were able to get on the scoreboard. Captain Steven Stamkos has two goals and two assists, and Nikita Kucherov has two goals and one assist. His 20 points lead the team in scoring. Star defencemen Victor Hedman has three assists for himself, and so does center Anthony Cirelli. Forward Ondrej Palat, who got to play the hero in Game 3, has two goals, including the game-winner in the dying minutes.

The firepower is on full display, and the stars are shining brightly. It is so much fun to watch as a hockey fan. Buckle up as Tampa is back in the series and has plenty of hockey left to play.

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