It may become the play that haunts a generation of New York Rangers fans.
New York trails the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Final after falling in Game 5 on Thursday night, but one play could have turned the tide and the Rangers could have been looking at a series lead. The story of the night at Madison Square Garden, as it pertained to the Rangers, was missed opportunities.
And there was no greater one than the one that presented itself in the third period when Ryan Strome fanned on a shot with Andrei Vasilevskiy caught out of position and the game tied at one. Artemi Panarin was able to find Andrew Copp with a pass and the Rangers forward sent the puck towards Strome on the side of the net.
What looked like a sure goal turned into a nightmarish moment and one that could end up defining the series.
Oh no, Ryan Strome… pic.twitter.com/z6shPLyyO6
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 10, 2022
“It’s a 60-minute game. There’s chances all over the ice,” Copp said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in the last second or the first second in the game. There’s chances to be had and Ryan has been unbelievable all year. Didn’t play last game, comes back and is playing good hockey and gutting one out. There’s chances everywhere, whether it was the last five minutes of the game or the first five minutes of the game it doesn’t matter.
“I’m not worried he’s a great player. He’s gonna come back and I put the (pass) a little behind him anyway, so we’ll connect next game.”
Thursday’s loss put the Rangers behind in the series for the first time since it began.
Strome’s chance wasn’t the only one that went by the waist side, but will stand out the most if New York isn’t able to repeat its comeback magic once more. The Rangers were out-chanced 22-17, according to Natural Stat Trick, but they did generate four high danger chances in the first period compared to Tampa Bay’s three.
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“Maybe we just didn’t shoot enough,” Panarin said through a translator. “As you saw Copp had a great pass, but there was an empty net and Strome just missed a little, so we didn’t realize that chance. It’s hard to say, we just couldn’t score.”