Lightning Defeat Rangers in OT

ONdrej Palat, Nikita Nesterov, Anton Stralman
The Associated Press

Nikita Kucherov shined once again as his quick overtime goal lifted the Tampa Lightning over the New York Rangers in an extremely physical Game 3. They now lead the Eastern Conference Finals 2-1.

It was all Rangers in the first period. Cedric Paquette committed a roughing penalty against Dan Girardi only 26 second into the game. Derrick Brassard whipped one past Ben Bishop to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead at 1:26. Amalie Arena went silent as it appeared the Rangers learned their lesson after an embarrassing Game 2. Eight minutes later, Jesper Fast scored his second goal of the playoffs to go up 2-0. Holy cow, the real Rangers finally showed up, right?"twitter-tweet" width="550">

GIF: Fast goal

— Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) May 21, 2015

Not at all. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos slid the puck past goalie Henrik Lundqvist. It was all the Lightning needed to rush new life into the team.

Hit after hit occurred in period two before the Lightning finally broke through. Lundqvist just could not stop all the shots. Ondrej Palat scored his fifth goal of the playoffs on a power play to tie the game. Then three minutes later Tyler Johnson scored his twelfth goal. “The Triplets” (Kucherov, Palet, and Johnson) continue to cause much trouble for their opponents. After a few more hits, Alex Killorn scored.

Life still existed within the Rangers. Fast scored his second of the game only 29 seconds later. There was life.

Weirdly enough, the third period started the same way as the first. Tampa Bay gave the Rangers a power play, which Ryan McDonaugh capitalized on. Tied 4-4, but still so much hockey to go.

And who was it that pushed the Lightning ahead? A Triplet, of course! Palat scored his second of the game.

The majority of the Rangers just looked deflated. They could not figure out the Lightning. None, except Dan Boyle. For a split second, Bishop lost sight of the puck and Boyle was in the right place at the right time. Tied game at 18:04.

Tie game and time for overtime! But The Triplets would not allow it to go very far.

Anyone shocked it was Kucherov who scored the winner? It was a beauty. It was Kucherov against three Rangers. A wimpy attempt to take the puck away from Kucherov did nothing. Kucherov shot it past Lundqvist and the arena exploded. The Lightning own a 2-1 series lead as they scored another six goals against Lundqvist. Before Game 2, the team only gave up 1.62 goals a game.

Game 4 is Friday night at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.