The Tampa Bay Lightning locker room couldn’t have been that great of a place to be on Tuesday night following game six of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. The Lightning entered the game poised to qualify for the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals however, thanks to a 7-3 loss, TB are now in grave danger of being eliminated from the post-season later this week.
Game six between Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers will probably be remembered for a wonky third period that featured a ton of scoring. The two teams came out of the second intermission with just one goal between them as New York lead 2-1.
However the hinges came off of the Lightning defense early in the third. New York rattled off three quick goals from J.T. Miller, James Sheppard, and Derick Brassard in the opening seven minutes and change of the final frame.
Tampa Bay, it should be pointed out, did NOTt give up despite falling behind 5-1. In fact TB coach Jon Cooper pulled the goalie with a full five minutes to go in an effort to make the final minutes interesting. However two third period goals from Nikita Kucherov were nothing but academic as the Rangers pulled even in the series at 3-3.
The Lightning now find themselves in a very precarious situation. Arguably they had to approach game six as a must-win situation against a very dangerous Rangers team. However if Tampa Bay did have that approach in game six then perhaps they should pretend game seven is a preseason game instead of a true must-win.
Before game seven, Ben Bishop will need to regroup after getting chased from game six. The Lightning will have to forget about the chance they squandered on home ice and they will have to ignore the fact that the Rangers are proving themselves to be a dependable bet in the clutch.
New York are now 4-0 in the post-season when facing elimination and they will surely have full confidence on Friday night at Madison Square Garden (8pm ET).