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Filip Chytil scores twice to lead Rangers past Lightning in Eastern finals opener

Jun 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) and Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) battle for the puck in the second period of game one of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Filip Chytil scored the tiebreaking goal with 9:51 remaining in the second period and added his second goal of the game nearly six minutes later as the host New York Rangers pulled away for a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

After never taking a series lead in their wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes, the Rangers can take a 2-0 series lead on Friday thanks to Chytil’s third straight game with a goal and second multi-goal game in that span.

Chris Kreider scored 71 seconds in and Frank Vatrano scored 7:50 into the second. Artemi Panarin tallied 30 seconds into the third and Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal 6:06 into the third as the Rangers won their team-record seventh straight postseason home game.

Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat scored for Tampa Bay, which saw its six-game winning streak stopped following its nine-day layoff.

New York’s Igor Shesterkin made 37 saves and won for the eighth time in 11 games since being pulled in Game 4 against Pittsburgh.

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed six goals on 34 shots.

New York scored on its first shot when Kreider lifted a one-timer from the circle over Vasilevskiy’s stick after getting a cross-ice pass from Zibanejad. Stamkos tied it a little over six minutes later when he blasted a slap shot from the right point after getting a drop pass from Jan Rutta.

Vatrano made it 2-1 7:50 into the second by putting a wrist shot from the middle of the slot by Vasilevskiy’s stick but 42 seconds later, Palat backhanded the rebound of a Stamkos shot by Shesterkin.

New York took a 3-2 lead when Kaapo Kakko made a pass from behind the net to Chytil, who leaned into a one-timer from the high slot that sailed into the right corner of the net with 9:51 remaining. Chytil struck again with 4:10 remaining when he blasted a one-timer from the right faceoff circle by Vasilevskiy.

–Field Level Media