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Two-time defending champion Lightning chasing NHL historical past | Sports



The Tampa Bay Lightning don’t wish to get forward of themselves of their bid to change into the primary staff in 40 years to win three consecutive Stanley Cup titles.

The two-time defending champions are up 2-0 on the Presidents Trophy-winning Florida Panthers within the Eastern Conference semifinals but perceive there’s nonetheless loads of work to do as they pursue a particular place in NHL historical past.

The Lightning have gained 4 straight video games to maneuver from the brink of elimination within the first spherical to having a possibility to take a commanding sequence lead after they host Game 3 in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday (1:30 p.m. EDT, TNT).

“Guys have done a hell of a job to put us where we are, but we’re far from done in this series,” coach Jon Cooper reiterated.

The Panthers, the league’s prime staff through the common season, say there’s nonetheless loads of combat left in them.

The New York Rangers, down 2-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes within the different Eastern Conference semifinal that continues Sunday, are singing the same tune after shedding the primary two video games of that matchup on the highway.

“We have a great opportunity. We win a game, everything changes,” Florida interim coach Andrew Brunette mentioned.

“We’ve played really well on the road all year,” Brunette added. “There’s no reason why we can’t go there and play our best game.”

The Panthers’ hopes are bolstered by the actual fact they gained twice on the highway on the way in which to eliminating the Washington Capitals within the first spherical.

Ross Colton’s purpose with 3.8 seconds remaining gained Game 2. To come again and win the best-of-seven sequence, Florida should take 4 of 5 video games from the defending champs over the subsequent week.

That is a tall order in opposition to any opponent, a lot much less a proud, resilient staff that hasn’t misplaced consecutive playoff video games in three years.

The Lightning really feel they’ll — and should — play higher.

“Our game has been far from perfect. We had a magical moment happen with 3.8 seconds left, and that gave us a game, but that could easily have gone to overtime,” Cooper mentioned.

“We feel great, obviously, where we are in this series,” the coach added. “But (if) we hang our hat on that … it won’t work out for us.”

Losing within the first spherical in 2019 was a supply of motivation through the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run two years in the past.

In 2021, they repeated as champions with a roster that is modified considerably this season on account of wage cap restrictions.

This 12 months’s playoffs are about enhancing the Lightning’s legacy.

The final staff to win three consecutive Stanley Cup titles was the New York Islanders, who gained 4 in a row from 1980-83.

“We are in the history books, and we’re going to go down as two-time champs. It’s not like people do that every day. It rarely happens. But to do three, now you’re becoming one of the best teams of the decades,” Cooper mentioned.

“When you think in generations, there’s the 80’s Islanders, and the 80’s Oilers or the 70’s Montreal Canadiens. Whatever they’re calling this last decade in years to come, it’ll be the whatever Lightning,” Cooper added. “That’s what we’re chasing.”

HURRICANES at BRUINS, Carolina leads sequence 2-0 (3:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN)

The Carolina Hurricanes want to determine the way to win on the highway. The New York Rangers want to seek out the again of the online.

The Hurricanes gained the primary two video games to enhance to 6-0 at residence within the playoffs going again to their seven-game first-round sequence in opposition to the Boston Bruins. But they misplaced all three video games in Boston with mistake- and penalty-filled performances in a sequence that went the space.

The Hurricanes don’t desire a repeat in opposition to the Rangers after profitable three of 4 regular-season conferences, together with one within the remaining week of the common season at Madison Square Garden to win the Metropolitan Division title.

The sequence has been one filled with tight protection and little area to function, a departure from the extra up-and-down fashion that coach Rod Brind’Amour mentioned he had anticipated. The Rangers have 49 photographs by means of two video games and the Hurricanes have simply 48, with high quality scoring probabilities proving laborious to return by.

The Rangers, in the meantime, have managed one purpose by means of two video games. They have now gone almost two full video games (116 minutes, 5 seconds of sport motion) with no purpose since Filip Chytil’s first-period rating in Game 1.

“We just got to find a way to generate more. We’ve done it first round, all year,” Rangers ahead Frank Vatrano mentioned. ’The playoffs, that area is more durable to get, so we bought to seek out that further bounce, simply that further area to create offense.”

FLAMES at OILERS, Series tied 1-1 (8 p.m. EDT, ESPN2)

The “Battle of Alberta” shifts to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4 after the groups mixed to attain 23 objectives within the first two — most by means of Game 2 of a sequence in 35 years.

The Oilers scored 4 straight to rally from a 3-1 deficit and even the Western Conference semifinal matchup Friday evening.

Calgary’s Tyler Toffoli hardly acknowledges the model of the Flames that’s proven up the previous two video games.

“Since I’ve been here we’ve done a really good job of playing our type of hockey,” mentioned Toffoli, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in February. “The past two games here we haven’t really been playing to our foundation. It’s been getting away from us.”

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AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard and Vinay Cherwoo contributed to this report.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports




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