Following his team’s Game 2 loss at the Garden on Friday night, Steven Stamkos noted what a wonderful run the Lightning have been on the past couple of years. Specifically, their refusal to lose two games in a row.

Rangers Are For Real, But Don’t Count Out Lightning

Following his team’s Game 2 loss at the Garden on Friday night, Steven Stamkos noted what a wonderful run the Lightning have been on the past couple of years. Specifically, their refusal to lose two games in a row.
Corey Perry, Credit: Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. – Following his team’s Game 2 loss at the Garden on Friday night, Steven Stamkos noted what a wonderful run the Lightning have been on the past couple of years. Specifically, their refusal to lose two games in a row.

Indeed, a remarkable streak of 17 consecutive playoff wins following defeat came to end with a 3-2 setback at the hands of the Rangers. The loss put the Lightning in a size-two hole in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final.

The thing to understand here is that, again, this is a best-of-seven. Two wins do not send the Rangers to the Stanley Cup round for the first time since 2012. Two losses do not send the Lightning into the off-season without hoisting Lord Stanley’s chalice for the first time since 2019. Of course, it is much, much more desirable to be up 2-0 than down 2-0. There are fewer tomorrows for a Tampa Bay team that must win four of five against the Blueshirts in order to play for their third straight Cup.

It seems like a daunting task, especially with how the Rangers are playing – and how the Bolts are striking themselves in their collective feet. But the Lightning did not win two Stanley Cups in nine months by not overcoming substantial hurdles.

“It is the hardest trophy to win and you are going to come across some adverse moments, and this is certainly one of them,” said Stamkos.

The Lightning will face adversity head on Sunday afternoon (3 p.m., ESPN) when the puck drops on Game 3 at Amalie Arena. Win that one and suddenly the focus will shift to a potential series-leveling Game 4.

First things first.

“Some of us have been in these situations before in our careers and found a way to win a series,” said the captain. “(The Rangers) took care of home ice. All the credit to them. We have a chance to come back in front of our fans. Let’s start with the next game and we’ll go from there.”

That’s all they can do. Well, handling the puck with more care is something that can be tended to as well. And let’s face it: the Rangers are damn good and deserve every bit of their two-game lead.

Still, even if it shocks the senses that the Lightning have lost two straight in a playoff series, don’t be so quick to count them out.

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