Game 5: Lightning 3, Rangers 1 | Tampa Bay leads 3-2
Who was the man? Mikhail Sergechev was not exactly known for scoring, but he used his shot to make the difference in Match 5. Combined with the scoring to lead the match 1-1, his shot veered from the point inward to defeat Igor Shesterkin for the second time. His two key points had a direct impact on his team’s victory. On top of those two points, Lightning tilted the ice as he posted at five-for-five – with 23 shot attempts to 15 for Rangers – and more than doubled their opponent’s chances of scoring (12-5). defenseman’s score of 3.65, via Hockey Stat Cards, was his best post-season, and his fifth best this year overall.
What was the key: Team Lightning might not have had their best opening frame in Game 5, but they upped their game over the next forty minutes. They did not allow Rangers to create one high-risk attempt in the second half at five against five, and conceded only one in the third set while generating six attempts themselves. Having fallen short of expected goals in the first half, Tampa Bay responded at 75 percent in the second half and was able to balance their offensive line with some solid defense in the third to maintain the edge.
Basic stats: The number 26 was very important in this pivotal game. That was the total number of gifts the Rangers received from five to five, with each player receiving at least one along with Barkley Goudreau, Chris Kreider, Philip Chettle and Ryan Lindgren.
Additionally, Rangers have achieved just 26 percent of their expected five-to-five goal share, according to the Natural Stat Trick, with Mica Zibanijad facing off against Anthony Cirelli.
The matching game has been an issue for New Yorkers throughout post-season, especially while on the road. Opponents put their best defensive skaters against their first line, usually in the lead. Cirelli is Lightning’s top stoppage, and he’s faced off against the top competitors throughout the playoffs. While the Rangers had ice on their turf, Tampa Bay were able to challenge their streak of Cirelli, Alex Killorn and Brandon Hagel – and the defending champions won’t make this any easier when they have the last change in Game Six.
Expiry moment: With a tie match going into the last two minutes of play, the winner must be the answer. Nikita Kucherov made such a great play in front of the net, but he shot far. Tampa Bay kept the ball and continued the offensive pressure. Victor Hedman passed the disc to Sergechev, who shot from the point. Ondrej Palat swerved it out front to score the match winner.
It’s similar to Game 3: Lightning has a clear advantage in the same strength, but didn’t have the scoring to show their efforts. And in the final minutes of regulation, Palates scored the green goal with 48 seconds on the clock to empty the opponent and win. This time, the winger scored the match winner with 1:50 left to take his team to the top of their first streak in the third round.
Ondrej Balat Tweet embed He became the first player in NHL history to score multiple game-winning goals during the 2:00 final game of regulation in a cut-off year. 🤯
– NHL Public Relations (PR_NHL) June 10, 2022
Match moment: What’s with Ryan Strom and the empty nets? We can’t really explain that. Rangers focused heavily on defense for most of the second half of the game thanks to Tampa Bay pressure, but began finding ways to beat it in the third inning. And in one of those sequences, Artemi Panarin passed the disc to Andrew Copp, who tried to prepare Strome for a faucet in the back door. While the New York center had all the space to take a shot, and a very empty net in front of him, he couldn’t pass the pass or get a shot. It’s been a “moment that’s over”, but since the match-winner got that honor today, that’s the moment of the match. When a team doesn’t turn out one of the few top-tier scoring chances they’ve been able to achieve in a tie game, they aren’t winning over the Stanley Cup champions.
Rangers and Ray Meter: 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯…New York have lost three straight games to their five-on-five problems, and now they have to find a way to battle it back down the road.
Lightning Anxiety Scale: 🤠…remember that time Lightning was delayed 2-0 in the series? They are not looking back now! Tampa Bay scored one win away from the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in a row.
Coming on Saturday
Rangers at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (Match 6)
(Photo: Brad Benner/USA Today)