The drought is over for Martin St. Louis (Vermont), and the New York Rangers are right back in the NHL's Eastern Conference Final.
St. Louis scored his first goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Rangers defeated the host Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-1, at Amalie Arena on Friday evening in Florida. The best-of-seven series is now tied at two games apiece.
After the Rangers had taken a 1-0 first-period lead and Tampa Bay came back to tie it in the middle frame, Chris Kreider (Boston College) put home a loose puck late in the second stanza for the game-winner, his team-leading seventh goal of the postseason, before New York added another goal less than two minutes later.
The Rangers then tacked on two more goals in the third, including St. Louis’ first playoff goal since Game Four of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against Los Angeles. Kevin Hayes (Boston College) had two assists for New York, while Carl Hagelin (Michigan) and Dan Boyle (Miami) finished with one apiece.
Ben Bishop (Maine) finished with 19 saves and fell to 10-7 this spring for the Lightning, which outshot New York, 39-24. The Rangers again scored two power-play goals in four attempts, while Tampa Bay, which got an assist from Alex Killorn (Harvard) on its lone goal, was blanked in four man-advantage opportunities.
It was the first playoff win by the Rangers by more than one goal since last year’s Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens. It also marked the second straight contest this year that New York tallied five goals, including a 6-5 overtime loss in Game Three on Wednesday.
Game Five will be played Sunday night at Madison Square Garden, while the winner of that outing will look to close out the series in Game Six on Tuesday evening in Tampa.