As per usual, NHL.com did a "Three Keys" preview for the third game of the series between the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who stole home ice with a win in Game Two. As per usual, I am blatantly stealing it.
NHL.COM'S THREE KEYS FOR THE RANGERS
1. Stay out of the box
This should be put in big capital letters because it is the single most important thing the Rangers must do in Game 3. The Lightning were 3-for-6 on the power play in Game 2 and are 4-for-10 in the series.
2. Get Nash rolling
The Rangers need to score more goals to win because two per game will not cut it. Enter slumping left wing Rick Nash, who has two goals on 50 shots in the playoffs.
3. Find an answer for 'Triplets'
Tampa Bay's "Triplets" line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat has scored 21 of the Lightning's 41 goals in the postseason, including four of the seven they have in this series.
NHL.COM'S THREE KEYS FOR THE LIGHTNING
1. Stay strong down the middle
Part of the reason why the Lightning were better in Game 2 than they were in Game 1 is because they were more assertive at trying to get to the middle of the ice and win the area. They were able to gain the zone better and have the puck more as a result. By doing all of that, the Lightning were able to stop the Rangers defensemen from gapping up in the neutral zone to create turnovers. They basically slowed the Rangers down, which is always the goal against arguably the fastest team in the NHL.
2. Play physical
Speaking of getting more hits, the Lightning made it a point of emphasis to play a more physical game in Game 2. They were credited with 26 hits as opposed to 18 in Game 1, but that doesn't tell the whole story. They were better on the walls in winning one-on-one puck battles and they forechecked more aggressively when they had to, which wasn't very often.
3. Shoot more at even strength
The Lightning were good at generating Grade A scoring chances in Game 2, whether at even strength, on the power play, or even shorthanded. They can't bank on that continuing to happen against the Rangers, typically a stingy defensive team, which is why the Lightning need to focus on generating more shots on goal.
NORTHWEST FLAVOR FOR THE LIGHTNING
If you haven't decided who to root for, the team in Tampa has a couple of local connections that just might sway you.
Hat Trick Dude
Chief Executive Officer
Todd Leiweke, who was once a CEO for the Seattle Seahawks and helped build them into the franchise they are today, is now the CEO for the Lightning. If that's not reason enough to root for the Lightning, I don't know what is.
Earlier this week, he was a guest on Brock and Salk and spoke of Seattle's chances of getting the NBA and NHL.