Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos revelled in his side's 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday, but insisted they will now face the best team in the NHL in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Lightning will now face the Colorado Avalanche after winning Game 6 and the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday, with Stamkos scoring both goals.

The 32-year-old put the reigning Stanley Cup champions up half-way through the second period, but the game seemed headed for overtime after Frank Vatrano equalised during a power play in the third.

The Lightning captain responded with another goal almost straight from the restart, getting on the end of a Nikita Kucherov pass in space to put his side back in front, likening it to a dream scenario afterwards.

He is aware of what awaits in Tampa Bay's hopes for a third-straight Stanley Cup, however.

"These are the games you live for as a kid," Stamkos told ESPN post-game. "It was everything I thought it was going to be and more, to give ourselves a chance to go to the finals three years in a row is amazing.

"To have a part in it tonight was certainly icing on the cake. It was just an unbelievable team effort, we deserved this one and we got it.

"The hardest thing to do is to win the championship and this group has been in the trenches. We know what it takes, but now we've got the best team in the league in the Colorado Avalanche. They have it all, that's what teams aspire to be."

Sweeping the Florida Panthers in the second round, the Lightning had to tough it out against the Rangers after going down 2-0 in the series.

Claiming Game 5 in New York before closing the series out on Sunday, Stamkos praised his battle-hardened team's ability to stay calm in adversity against a tough opponent.

"We know we didn't play our best the first two," he said. "We had that long break and didn't want to use an excuse, and they [the Rangers] had a couple of hard-fought series. They were executing and we weren't.

"We stuck with it. There's no panic on this team and what an effort. Tonight was amazing. To rattle off four against that team at this time of the year, it's pretty impressive."

A New York Rangers fan has been banned for life from Madison Square Garden for punching a Tampa Bay Lightning fan in the face after Thursday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.

Following the 3-1 Tampa Bay win that gave them a 3-2 series advantage, the Rangers fan and Lightning fan exchanged words while exiting the arena, police said.

A video surfaced on social media of the Rangers fan turning and punching the Lightning fan. He then struck another person who tried to intervene.

While the victim received assistance on the ground from witnesses, the assailant fled the arena.

Police confirmed that a 29-year-old Staten Island man was arrested for assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.

A Madison Square Garden statement released on Friday called the incident an "abhorrent assault."

"We are cooperating fully with law enforcement as this is now a criminal matter. The assailant will also be banned from The Garden and all other MSG venues for life," MSG said in its statement.

"All guests - no matter what team they support - should feel safe and respected in The Garden. This has and always will be our policy."

In a battle between arguably the two best goaltenders in the world, it was the Tampa Bay Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy who came out on top in a 3-1 road win against the New York Rangers and Igor Shesterkin in Game 5.

With the win, the Lightning pulled ahead 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, with a chance to close it out in front of their home fans in Game 6. If needed, Game 7 will head back to Madison Square Garden.

Each team lived up to their staunch defensive reputations early on, leading to a scoreless first 30 minutes, before Ryan Lindgren finally found the breakthrough halfway through the second period.

Lightning defensman Mikhail Sergachev equalised with three minutes remaining in the second term, setting up a nail-biting finish.

After 18 minutes of tight, scoreless hockey, Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat was able to deflect in a shot on goal, forcing New York to pull their goalie in a desperation move, only for Brandon Hagel to put the icing on the cake with an empty-netter.

Speaking to ESPN after the win, Lightning winger Pat Maroon said his side is no longer rattled by these massive games after winning back-to-back Stanley Cups.

"I think [our recent success] leads to confidence, it calms the nerves," he said. "When you get settled in, and it's a 1-1 game there, our nerves are calm, we're relaxed.

"We know what it takes, we know how to win hockey games, we know how to close out games.

"When we've been put in situations like we have the last two years, you kind of get that swagger a little bit. We've had that adversity with winning in the bubble, and some other things, but like [Steven Stamkos] said, a good road win would be nice.

"The guys played hard, it's a gutsy win."

When asked about what it feels like to live out every young hockey player's dreams of being part of a great Stanley Cup-winning team, Maroon was thankful for the position he is in.

"I just try to go out there and be a part of it," he said. "Be an impact in the room, or on the ice, whatever I can do.

"Certainly these runs have been remarkable for me, and my family, but it's been fun just to be with the boys, and to see how relentless we are in the room, and what it takes to win.

"Guys do whatever it takes – it's so fun to look around the room and to see all the sacrifices we've put together these last three years, it's honestly amazing. I'm happy to be a part of that."

He added: "I remember playing in the basement with my two brothers… playing street hockey, [dreaming of] scoring that game-winning goal, being a part of the Stanley Cup.

"You want to be a part of those moments. Obviously I'm living it right now – I never thought I'd be in the NHL, winning cups – but I'm living it, I'm having fun with it, and I'm enjoying it. 

"We have a great group of guys in there that make everything special."

Veteran Tampa Bay Lightning center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare pointed to the return of urgency as his side levelled the NHL Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals after a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

The Lightning, chase their third straight Stanley Cup, went down 2-0 in the Conference Finals after the Rangers claimed 6-2 and 3-2 wins in the opening two games at Madison Square Garden.

But Tuesday’s Game 4 win followed Sunday’s 3-2 victory at Amalie Arena, hauling the Lightning back into contention.

"I think the urgency," Bellemare said post-game. "We were not happy about the way we played [in the first two games].

"We’re a team that understand when we’re not good and the coaches have been helping us to be better. I think the last two games have been much better for us."

Bellemare refused to point to the Lightning’s lengthy break between series, having swept the Florida Panthers 4-0 in the second round.

"I don’t want to use that as an excuse for the way we played," Bellemare said.

"I don’t think we were engaged enough. Yes, we were off for nine days, but at the end of the day it’s the Conference Finals.

"This is behind us. It’s 2-2 in the series, so that’s good."

Patrick Maroon had fired in a rebound to earn Tampa Bay an early lead, before Nikita Kucherov found space in the middle from Ondrej Palat’s pass to double their advantage in the second period. The goal was Kucherov’s 21st point this postseason.

Steven Stamkos netted his seventh goal of the playoffs, scoring 4:56 into the third period to make it 3-0, before Artemi Panarin pulled one back with a power play goal, only for Palat to fire into an empty net to close out the win.

The victory was Tampa Bay’s sixth in a row at home in the postseason.

"Obviously it’s a little bit easier in front of our fans," Bellemare said. "We’ve got their energy the whole game and we feed on it.

On the Lightning, Bellemare added: "The locker room is really special. It’s the same from the weakest link all the way to the top of the organisation.

"Everyone is thinking the same and pushing in the same direction. It’s really easy to play here."

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper praised his side's ability to stay calm, after they snatched a 3-2 win from the New York Rangers in Game 3 on Sunday.

The Lightning were down 2-0 in the second period after power-play goals from Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, but they rallied and Ondrej Palat scored the winning goal with 42 seconds remaining in the game.

After losing the first two games in the Eastern Conference finals, Cooper's side cut the series deficit to 2-1 with the win, keeping their hopes to retain the Stanley Cup alive.

The Lightning coach asserted his side could draw on extensive playoff experience in fighting back from losing position.

"We've been in spots like this," Cooper said post-game. "The big thing for us was, I felt like we had a recipe, we just had to stay with it. I think there are times in this series, we've tried to manufacture things that weren't there, that put us on our heels and gave up opportunities.

"Whether it was a break, whatever you want to call, we weren't in sync. Today we were down 2-0 and I don't want to sit here and say we didn't deserve to be down 2-0 because their power plays have been great, but our five-on-five game I liked.

"We just needed to stick with that and stay out of the box. I think in years past, maybe, panic would have set in at some point – definitely not with this group. No question, being there before, it's really helped us."

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos were able to restore parity for the reigning champions, before Kucherov provided the crafty assist for Palat in the final minute.

Game 4 is on Tuesday, with the Rangers looking to make their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since 2014.

The New York Rangers held serve at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, holding on for a 3-2 win to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It was the Lightning who struck first, with Nikita Kucherov taking advantage of an early power play to put the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champions ahead 1-0 less than three minutes in.

But the lead would be short-lived, with K'Andre Miller squaring the ledger less than five minutes later, before Kaapo Kakko gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.

In a clash between arguably the two greatest goaltenders in the game – New York's Igor Shesterkin and Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy – the second period was a 20-minute scoreless stalemate, setting up a thrilling third frame.

However, much of the drama was sucked out of the contest when New York's Mika Zibanejad gave the Rangers a 3-1 buffer just two minutes into the period, and Shesterkin was determined to see it out.

A late Nicholas Paul goal set up a frantic final two minutes, but the Rangers' defense held firm, securing the win.

With the win, the Rangers snapped a streak of 17 consecutive Lightning wins following a playoff loss, with their last back-to-back playoff losses coming in April, 2019.

Speaking to the media after the win, Rangers defenseman Adam Fox – who had two assists – said his side are good at playing spoiler.

"We heard all year that [we weren't] really going to have playoff success," he said. 

"We’ve said it all year, the belief in the room is high and the outside opinions isn’t really affecting anyone. 

"Coming from down 3-1 [against the Pittsburgh Penguins], down 2-0 [against the Carolina Hurricanes] and [the Lightning] obviously had a good playoff streak of not losing back-to-back games, but that’s not really in our minds coming into the games.

"We're not thinking about what streaks teams have or how they've done earlier. It's right now, and we're just trying to bring it day in and day out.

"We did a great job limiting them, especially in the first two periods. We didn't make too many mistakes… [and] when we needed those big saves, we got them at the end, as usual."

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant called it "a huge win".

"It's a huge win for us, but we just get ready for the next one," he said. 

"The way we played the last two games, that's the way we're going to have to play to win the series. We want to battle hard, we want to compete hard and we've been a tough out so far.

"We knew they were going to push real hard... [but] we battled, we found a way. We're playing against a real good team over there. They pushed it, we made some key saves at the end."

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said his side was punished for their mistakes, but he hopes they will carry some momentum into the next fixture back in Tampa Bay after dominating the last 15 minutes.

"We haven’t executed the proper way that got us here," he said. 

"They are a skilled team and make you pay. We found some momentum at the end – we have to carry that over."

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant was full of praise for Filip Chytil's performance after his side's 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in their series opener on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old scored twice and was one of six Rangers players with two points on the way to defeating the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

Chytil made it 3-2 at a critical juncture, at 10:09 of the second period, scoring from the left circle off a pass from Kaapo Kakko, who was behind the net.

The Czech center broke the game open and scored his second from the right circle to make it 4-2, handing the Rangers their first series lead in these playoffs, and their head coach was evidently impressed.

"He's growing up to be a man," Gallant said post-game. "Every time he goes out there, he's more confident. He's stronger. He's growing up."

"A lot of sharpness. Our team just kept going. We got a day off and kept playing. Obviously, they [the Lightning] looked rusty."

Chytil has scored eight goals in his previous two regular seasons for the Rangers, but has now contributed seven goals for the team in 15 games over the 2022 playoffs, trailing only Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.

Zibanejad, however, only trails the free-scoring Edmonton Oilers duo of Connor McDavid (29) and Leon Draisatl (28) for points over the playoffs with 21.

The Eastern Conference final stays in New York for Game 2, with the two teams facing off at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

 

The New York Rangers triumphed 6-2 away from home in Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, securing their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It is the second consecutive series that the Rangers have had to come from behind in – coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3, before falling behind 3-2 against the Hurricanes and winning back-to-back games with their season on the line.

For a Game 7, it was relatively painless for New York, with first-period strikes to Adam Fox and Chris Kreider, before a Ryan Strome goal made it 3-0 Rangers at the end of the second period as goaltender Igor Shesterkin proved impenetrable early.

With the Hurricanes desperate for an early one in the third term, Kreider stuck the dagger in with his second goal to make it 4-0. Carolina finally got their first goal eight minutes into the last period through Vincent Trocheck, but any dream of a comeback was extinguished less than a minute later by Filip Chytil's reply.

Kreider, after scoring twice, was quick to pass the spotlight to who he felt was the match-winner, and highlighted how his Rangers refuse to lie down.

"Obviously, our goaltender [Shesterkin] was once again our best player," he said.

"I've kind of referred to us as cockroaches. We just didn't go away. 

"That's always been ingrained in the culture of every good team I've been on here. We just don't go away, regardless of the score and regardless of where the game is."

Also praising Shesterkin, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said: "He made some key saves at key times – he made that 2-0 lead in the first period stand up."

Shesterkin himself said the early lead took the pressure off, and looked forward to his match-up against compatriot Andrei Vasilevskiy in net for the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"We scored two quick goals and it helped me so much,' he said. "I just tried to [do] my job – stop the puck.

"[Vasilevskiy] is the best goalie in the world right now. I think it'll be a good battle."

Speaking to ESPN while still on the ice, Fox touched on the toughness of his side after now moving to 5-0 in elimination games this postseason.

"I think we're a resilient group," he said. "We're a young group, we have a lot of faith in each other in there, and when our backs are against the wall it seems like it brings out the best in us.

"These past two games have been a full-team effort, it took everyone to contribute, and I couldn't be prouder of the team.

"Maybe we're a little naive in there – we're just coming to play. We've got a young group, but guys who have been through it, too. 

"We don't want our season to end, and I think we just go in with that mentality, and its worked for us the past two [Game 7s]."

When asked about the impending matchup against the Lightning, Fox said he will not lose much sleep over his side's rest disadvantage.

"I'm not sure to be honest – obviously [the Lightning] getting a little rest is good for their guys, but we're in hockey mode," he said. "We're in playoff mode, and we want to keep the momentum rolling.

"It could be good for us, but obviously a good test as well."

New York Rangers goal-tender Igor Shesterkin was the talk of the town after stopping 37 shots and providing two assists in their 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 6 of their NHL second round playoffs series.

The Rangers forced a Game 7 in the series as they continued their excellent home form buoyed by a strong start, winning their sixth straight game at Madison Square Garden.

Tyler Motte and Mika Zibanejad scored in the first period to earn Rangers a 2-0 lead with Filip Chytil netting two goals in the second. Artemi Panarin added another in the third period to close out the victory.

But Shesterkin earned praise from Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant after becoming only the fifth goalie in NHL history to have two or more assists in a playoff game.

"He made some real key saves for us," Gallant told reporters.

"Obviously the two assists are huge, but I think he was trying to get three there in the third when he passed it up the middle.

"He's outstanding. He's been like that all year for us."

Shesterkin now has three assists in 13 postseason games, setting up Zibanejad's first-period goal, along with Chytil's second.

"About the two assists, honestly, I think it was mostly the guys that did all the work," Shesterkin said via a translator. "I just got them the puck and they delivered."

Gallant was delighted with Rangers' home form, stating it did not surprise him, but the series-deciding Game 7 will be played in Carolina where the Hurricanes are 7-0 in this postseason.

"We have to play how we play at home," Chytil said.

"We found a way to win in Pittsburgh. It's a Game 7 now, so we have to find a way to win the game.

"We have to play hard, we have to play our game and don't focus on any other thing. Just focus on the game and I think we can win the game.”"

Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour admitted his side started too "raw" but was eager to move on with Game 7 on Monday.

"It's behind us now, we turn the page," Brind'Amour said. "The good news is we don't have to end on that. We have another shot here."

The New York Rangers are feeling confident about their prospects of reaching the NHL Stanley Cup Finals after fighting back from 2-0 to square their series with the Carolina Hurricanes, earning a 4-1 win on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes have had the wood over the Rangers in recent times, winning eight out of their previous nine encounters prior to the past two meetings in this heated series.

Rangers center Andrew Copp, who scored a goal with two assists in the Game 4 win, said the momentum was with his side after winning 3-1 in Game 3.

"We're confident," Copp told reporters. "We get two games where we win, we play well, we give up two goals total.

"Now the reverse of the talk of you guys is on them now. We just got to kind of block all that out and stay with our game.

"Guys are feeling better about themselves and we got to ride this momentum into Carolina."

Rangers goal tender Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 shots but had his shutout bid spoiled by Teuvo Teravainen's third-period goal.

Earlier, goals to Frank Vatrano and Adam Fox earned the Rangers a 2-0 first-period lead, with Mika Zibanejad extending that advantage 16:48 into the second. Teravainen made it 3-1 before Copp rounded it out from Ryan Strome's assist 11:10 in the third period.

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant was delighted with his team's display after a tight series, where the Hurricanes won Game 1 in over-time 2-1, before triumphing 2-0 in Game 2.

"Really, you look at the four games," Gallant said. "It's not just the two at home, but the four games have been pretty much one-goal games most of the way through.

"We are two teams that are close and battling. I just think it's been outstanding hockey by both teams."

The result means the Hurricanes are 0-5 on the road in the playoffs, while they are 6-0 at home ahead of Game 5 in Carolina.

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said: "You've got to keep getting the chances. I'm happy that we're at least creating some offense.

"[Shesterkin] played well, you've got to give him tons of credit. But to me, the start is what did it to us."

Elsewhere, the Edmonton Oilers took a 3-1 lead in their second round series against the Calgary Flames, winning 5-3 in Game 4 after blowing a 3-0 first-period lead.

New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant assured his side can match the Carolina Hurricanes for physicality following a post-game scuffle, as the Rangers took a game back in their playoff series on Sunday.

As the buzzer sounded to end Game 3, a 3-1 win for the Rangers, Hurricanes forward Max Domi gave Rangers defenceman Ryan Lindgren a sudden cross-check.

The benches cleared and following the scuffle between the two teams on the ice, Gallant was also seen yelling at Hurricanes defenceman Tony DeAngelo, whose contract was bought out by the Rangers after a string of behavioural indiscretions.

While Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour declined to comment on the issue post-match - citing that he did not see the shot from Domi - a visibly upset Gallant was more forthright, stating the Rangers are well-equipped to provide receipts.

“I wasn’t happy with the bulls..t at the end of the game that they initiated,” Gallant said. “We didn’t do that when the games were close. They put their guys out, that’s fine. They want to play like that, we've got guys who can match that.”

After two losses on the road, the Rangers bounced back with an important win as the series returned to New York.

Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist while Igor Shesterkin stopped 43 shots, for New York's second win in their past 10 against the Canes.

Message-sending is the norm in playoff series but after the post-game scuffle, Gallant made it clear his side will not be pushed around.

“I don’t like it at the end of the game,” he said. “The game’s over. We still got four games with these guys. We got the guy who can handle all their guys if we want to.

"We didn’t do it like that, but Domi took a cheap shot at our defenceman. You've got a long memory. You think about things, like I said, [the shoe] might be on the other foot someday.”

New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant feels like there was not much more his side could do after falling down 2-0 in their series, losing both of the Carolina Hurricanes' home fixtures.

After leading until the final moments of Game 1, before the Hurricanes forced overtime and snuck away with a 2-1 win, it was another defensive struggle in Game 2, which suited the Hurricanes as they took it 2-0.

The breakthrough came from Brendan Smith in the second period, and that would be the only goal of the game until the Rangers pulled their goalie out of desperation in the final seconds.

Speaking to post-game media, Gallant said it was a true playoff hockey game, but despite only scoring one goal in two games, he feels his side played well once again.

"It was a good hockey game – low shots, a battle by both teams," he said. "It could've went either way again.

"It's tough – we came into this building earlier in the season twice and got dominated, [Carolina had] 50 shots I think.

"But we came in here, we played good defensive hockey, we battled hard. We only got one goal [across the two away games], that's the disappointing part of it, but we played a good hockey team, and played good hockey.

"We fell short a little bit – what are you going to do. Just get ready for the two home games coming up."

Gallant pushed back on the notion that his side is "disjointed" offensively, saying this is just what it looks like when the two best defensive teams in the league meet head-to-head.

"I wouldn't say [we are disjointed offensively] – I would say it's a case of two teams not giving up anything," he said.

"They're first in the league [defensively] and we're second in the league, but the disappointment is that we didn't take care of our power plays tonight. 

"Overall it's a top team, and it was a battle of a game. They're a good team – the best defensive team in the league.

"I'm happy with the way we've performed overall. I wish we would've got one of these two games – we probably could've – but that's the way it goes."

Goal-scorer Smith said everyone knows what kind of game it is going to be between these two sides, but he feels it favours Carolina.

“I think if we just stick to our style, it's eventually going to wear on teams and we're going to find a way to win,” he said.

The Carolina Hurricanes needed a late equaliser to send Game 1 of their playoff series against the New York Rangers to overtime, where they would score the golden goal to win 2-1 in front of their home fans.

Filip Chytil put the Rangers ahead in the first period with his goal from an Alexis Lafreniere assist as they tried to pinch Game 1 on the road.

Behind another stout goaltending performance from Rangers star Igor Shesterkin, the 1-0 scoreline would hold all the way through the second period and deep into the last, when Sebastian Aho finally found the equaliser with less than three minutes left on the clock.

After Carolina fans waited nearly an hour of game time for their first goal, they only had to wait three minutes into overtime to get their second, as Ian Cole landed an optimistic shot past Shesterkin the winner.

Just his second goal in 104 postseason games, Cole said shooting was not on his mind when he received the puck.

"I was looking to pass it to someone," he said. "No one was really kind of anywhere dangerous – so I was like, 'Well, I guess I'll throw it on net and see what happens'.

"Hockey's a game of weird bounces, and it happened to go in. Not the prettiest, but we'll take it."

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour was proud of his side pulling through the way they did, but he acknowledged it felt like they got out of jail.

"Kudos to our guys, they got it going in – it certainly was a good third period," he said.

"[But] we're not going to get away with that. Not playing two periods and expect to win a game — especially at this time of year against that team.”

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant felt his team did not get the reward for their play, going as far as saying their first two periods were as good as they had played all season.

"They put a big push on in the third period in the first 10 minutes, and we weathered that storm," he said.

"But the first two periods was perfect hockey for us... I thought it was our best game of the year, I really did."

Game 2 will remain in Carolina on Friday before heading to Madison Square Garden in New York for Game 3 and Game 4.

Star winger Artemi Panarin proved the difference in Game 7 for the New York Rangers, with his goal in overtime clinching a 4-3 win and the series on Sunday.

Overtime seemed fitting for what has been such a tight series, and the 30-year-old Russian put the Rangers up in rare circumstances, shooting through a wall of Penguins players in a power-play to score.

It was the third-straight come-from-behind victory in the series for New York, who tied the game with 5:45 left in regulation via Mika Zibanejad.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant felt the conditions did not suit Panarin but he had the requisite skill to save his side when it mattered most.

"He's the guy, when it gets to overtime, I said to myself that he was going to score," Gallant said after the win. "If we get the winning goal, it's going to be him. Sure enough, he makes a great play.

"You know what? Honestly, the ice wasn't great tonight. The puck was bouncing and it affects his game more than the other guys. People get frustrated at times. I think we saw a little of that.

"I just thought he wasn't having his best night. He tried hard, he competed and got some pucks out. He usually makes a lot of plays and tonight it just wasn't there, but you just get a feeling with a guy like him that he can do that for you. And that's what he does."

The Penguins were bolstered by the return of Sidney Crosby after he missed Game 6 with an upper-body injury, caused by a hit from Jacob Trouba. The visitors equalised on a power-play following a penalty for high-sticking from Trouba and though they hit the lead, could not manage to see the series out.

In Sunday's other result, Johnny Gaudreau's goal in overtime secured the series for the Calgary Flames against the Dallas Stars, moving to the second round with a 3-2 win.

New York Rangers center Filip Chytil said his side were determined to keep their season alive as they came from a two-goal deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 at Madison Square Garden.

Trailing 3-1 in the series heading into the clash, the Rangers were hanging on by a thread after goals from Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang had the Penguins leading 2-0 eight minutes into the second period.

But the Rangers were not going out that way in front of their home fans, rattling off three goals in under three minutes courtesy of Adam Fox, Alexis Lafreniere and Jacob Trouba, although Guentzel's second tied it up at 3-3 going into the last period.

Chytil sent the crowd into raptures with a power-play goal just three minutes into the period, before Ryan Lindgren put the game to bed in the closing seconds.

Speaking afterwards, Chytil said there was a desperation to not go out with a whimper after being outscored 14-6 in the past two fixtures played in Pittsburgh.

"We were not happy with what happened in Pittsburgh," he said. "We just didn’t play the whole season [the] way that we played, just [to] lose games like this in Pittsburgh.

"So we just had a good meeting, good practice yesterday, and we just believed today that we’re gonna win and we’re gonna go back to Pittsburgh.

"We believed, because we should have done more… we turned momentum to our side, and that was what we need."

Fellow goalscorer Lafrieniere was also complimentary of his team for the way they handled the pressure.

"We played a good 60 minutes," he said. "We defended well and played a good all-around game.

"We did a good job of staying calm. We have to keep it going and win Game 6 – [but] we played a really good one when we needed it most."

Making matters even worse for the Penguins is the fact that Sidney Crosby was forced to leave the game after suffering an injury in the second period, with Guentzel putting it plainly how important he is to the team and the gaping hole that will be left if he cannot get up for Game 6.

"We never want to see a player like that leave, but we have to find a way," Guentzel said. "[Crosby] is the best player in the world. That's a lot of minutes other guys have to take up. Next man up."

Game 6 will head back to Pittsburgh, and if the Rangers can win it, they will earn a Game 7 at home.

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