Ben Bishop and Henrik Lundqvist are two of the best goalies in the Eastern Conference and when they met up in the Eastern Conference finals it was going to be difficult to eliminate one of these two teams.
Bishop had the last laugh however as he built a brick wall behind himself in the goal in game 7 as he didn't allow any goals to pass through, saving all 22 New York shots on the evening. Henrik Lundqvist actually saved more shots on the evening, stopping 23, but he missed two that were the difference in this finale.
The first period was rather quiet, as neither team was able to get on the board and there were no penalties. Was it possible that both teams were a little too amped up for an exciting game 7? That's always possible but the teams were playing to the strength that they had in the net and playing smarter defense instead of being too aggressive or taking a poor penalty. Tampa led with 9 shots on goal to 5 for the Rangers, as the Lightning were more aggressive on the goal from the beginning.
The second period was starting fairly slowly as well, but Rick Nash was finally able to draw the first penalty of the game as Lightning left winger Brenden Morrow was called for hooking. Despite the extra man advantage, the Rangers could not capitalize as Bishop was performing quite well in goal himself. Two minutes after they cleared that penalty, the Lightning were called for too many men on the ice, served by Ryan Callahan. It wasn't easy, but they cleared that penalty too and the goalies were both standing on their heads to reach the end of the second period with a 0-0 tie. It was a wonder if anyone was going to score in this game.
Alex Killorn made an excellent play himself early in the third period though, taking the puck from the blue line and going into the heart of the defense to break the ice with the first goal scored 41:54 into the game. Killorn was assisted by Matt Carle and Valtteri Filppula.
Tyler Johnson would take the puck out of the defensive zone just over 9 minutes later, skating down the right side of the ice, he drew the attention of the defense and Nikita Kucherov was right in front of him in the center of the ice, which opened up a passing lane to get it to the left side of the ice where Ondrej Palat took the puck and had no one between him and Lundqvist and took advantage by putting it up high in the goal to give the Lightning a two goal lead. Ben Bishop was credited with the other assist.
The Rangers attempted to rally and didn't give up any more goals, despite pulling Lundqvist with 3:44 left in the game. But they didn't score any goals of their own either, as they end short of the goal again as they will not be in the Stanley Cup Finals as they were just one year ago.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is looking for their second Stanley Cup victory as they last won it back in the 2004 playoffs. It is still uncertain who their opponent will be as they will face the winner of Saturday's game between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks as they too have a game 7. One thing is for certain, Tampa Bay fought hard and will fight hard for 4 more wins to try and take the cup home again.