An Ivy Leaguer and a Missouri man teamed up to help send the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
Alex Killorn (Harvard) backhanded home a puck early in the third period for the game’s first goal, and Ben Bishop (Maine) made that score stand up with 22 saves as the visiting Lightning blanked the New York Rangers, 2-0, tonight at Madison Square Garden in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Tampa Bay won the series, four games to three, as Des Peres, Mo. native Bishop recorded his second straight shutout on Broadway this month, and allowed just four goals in four games at MSG, three of them victories. The Lightning has defeated an NHL Original Six team in each round this spring, edging the Rangers after outlasting Detroit in seven meetings and then besting Montreal in six contests. Bishop has been in net for all 12 wins.
Matt Carle (Denver) assisted on Killorn’s seventh goal of the playoffs just under two minutes into the final frame on Friday, before Bishop drew the second assist on Ondřej Palát’s series-clinching score at 11:17. The former All-Hockey East netminder rebounded after having been pulled with 10 minutes remaining in regulation in a 7-3 home loss in Game 6, where he was scored on six times by New York.
The Rangers, who finished with the league’s best record during the regular season, setting franchise records for wins (53) and points (113), fell one win short of a second straight Eastern Conference crown despite winning 40 of 64 face-offs in Game 7. Team captain Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin) played less than 18 minutes in all, reputedly due to a broken foot, according to the NHL Network.
Tampa Bay, which won the Cup in 2004 in its only previous appearance, will face either the Anaheim Ducks or Chicago Blackhawks in the league final, which will begin Wednesday night. If Anaheim wins Game 7 of the Western Conference Final Saturday night at the Honda Center, the best-of-seven Cup final will begin in California. If Chicago triumphs tomorrow, the Cup final will instead start in Florida.