Steven Stamkos and Brian Boyle of the Lightning celebrate their victory over the Rangers in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final.
Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images
By Nicholas Goss
The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final on Friday night by becoming the first team ever to win a Game 7 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Tampa Bay’s 2-0 victory ends a streak of seven straight Game 7 wins for the Rangers on home ice and prevents New York from returning to the Cup Final, where it lost to the Los Angeles Kings in five games last season.
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The Lightning will play the Chicago Blackhawks or Anaheim Ducks in the Cup Final. The Western Conference Final will end Saturday with a Game 7 in Anaheim.
Ben Bishop was Tampa Bay’s best player Friday night with a 22-save shutout. He joins Patrick Roy and Tim Thomas as the only goaltenders in NHL history with multiple Game 7 shutouts in the same postseason. Bishop also shut out the Rangers in Game 5 last week.
Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist made several remarkable saves before giving up a somewhat soft goal to Lightning center Alex Killorn 1:54 into the third period. The Rangers made a strong surge throughout the period in search of the tying goal, but the Lightning added an insurance tally from Ondrej Palat at 11:17.
Palat and linemates Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov combined for 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in the series.
The Lightning’s only other Cup Final appearance was in 2004 when they beat the Calgary Flames in seven games.