Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

What We Learned: Lightning in deep trouble in the Stanley Cup Final

Speed kills.

The Tampa Bay Lightning saw it in Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Final, where the New York Rangers turned much of the game into a track meet. Tampa Bay is a deep and talented team, but few would mistake it for a group that's collectively fleet of foot.

Here’s how the Rangers opened that series in the first two games: Five goals out of nine came pretty much immediately after a zone entry at 5-on-5.

Obviously, the Lightning figured out how to clip the wings on that Rangers attack, because they allowed one 5-on-5 goal over the next four games, all of which were Tampa wins. But for those first few days of the last round, it felt like the Rangers had cracked something in the code that 11 previous playoff opponents could not: Come in with speed, shoot to kill.

Two of Colorado’s goals in Game 1 came the same way — within a few seconds of a zone entry, before Tampa had time to set up, and at 5-on-5. Three more In Game 2 on Saturday (goals Nos. 2, 3, and 4).

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This article is about:
NHL Colorado Avalanche Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Valeri Nichushkin Steven Stamkos Andrei Vasilevsky
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