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The New York Rangers continued their domination on home ice to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night.
The two-time Stanley Cup Champions struggled to keep up with the Rangers’ “Kid Line” as Filip Chytil scored twice and Alexis Lafreniere registered two assists for the night. Rangers vets Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Frank Vatrano, and Chris Kreider sealed the deal with a goal apiece.
Filip Chytil of the Rangers celebrates after scoring a goal during the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden on June 1, 2022, in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
“I was working hard for the whole season,” Chytil said. “There were tough moments, so many chances but I couldn’t put it in the net…. When you’re not putting pucks to the net you’re not helping the team that much and maybe start to be a little frustrated. But now it’s finally going in, I am so happy I can help the team like this in winning the games.”
Chytil is the third leading goal scorer for the Rangers in these playoffs, with seven goals across 15 games, compared to just eight goals throughout the regular season.
“Fil’s a good kid,” head coach Gerard Gallant said, via NHL.com. “He worked hard, he competes hard and he deserves what he’s getting right now. He’s stepped his game up. He knows it, everybody knows it and that is exactly what we need from him.”
Rangers’ Filip Chytil celebrates with his teammates after scoring his second goal during the Eastern Conference Finals on June 1, 2022, in New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat scored for Tampa Bay – a team that played their first playoff game in nine days after sweeping the Flordia Panthers in the second round.
“You’ve got to give them credit. They are a really good hockey team,” Stamkos said. “We certainly didn’t have our best. I think we know what we have to do better. Been in this position before. I am confident we will have a better effort next game. It’s Game 1 of a long series.”
The Rangers celebrate after a second-period goal during the Eastern Conference Finals on June 1, 2022, in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Rangers now have a seven-game winning streak while playing at home and will look to keep that going when they take on the Lighting again at home in Game 2 on Friday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.