TAMPA, Fla. — Rangers coach Gerard Gallant didn’t like the way the Lightning drove the net against goaltender Igor Shesterkin on Sunday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Lightning forward Corey Perry was called out for hitting Shesterkin in the second period, with Shesterkin falling backwards as his stick flew through the air. Rangers scored on the ensuing power play.
Later in the period, Lightning forward Riley Nash was called for goalie interference for hitting Shesterkin.
“It bothers me more than it does,” Gallant said. ” I do not like it. I think that’s, you know, a big part of that, and I hope when we talk to the [NHL officials] supervisor tomorrow, they’ll take care of some of that, because it wasn’t right.”
Forward Andrew Copp said Shesterkin, who saved 48 of 51 shots, handled the pressure well.
“I guess anytime there’s an elite goalie that plays that way, I think that’s kind of the mantra of another team trying to face him,” Copp said. “You know, try shaking it up a bit. But it seemed like Shesty had handled it very well today.
Strome comes out injured
Gallant did not report on the status of forward Ryan Strome, who left in the third period with a lower-body injury.
Strome was cross-checked at the back in the second period by Lightning forward Ondrej Palat. While the cross check itself didn’t seem too difficult, Strome’s right knee seemed to hyperextend. He immediately left the ice in pain and headed for the locker room, dropping his stick on the ice.
“He came back for [two] shifts and he just wasn’t good enough,” Gallant said. “We will know more tomorrow. I hope he will do well for the next one.
Strome had two goals and seven assists in the playoffs. He’s the second line centre, working between Artemi Panarin and Copp, and if he’s unable to play in Game 4 it would leave a big hole in the Rangers line-up.
“Stromer is obviously a big part of our team,” said Mika Zibanejad. “We didn’t shoot 11 [forwards] as much, but in saying that, I think it’s just trying to step in and try to make this work.
“I obviously think it’s a big loss when Stromer doesn’t play, the way he plays and that line played. [But] you can’t do much more than just try to fill that spot. And the next one.”
Fear of injury for Goodrow
Rangers had another injury scare.
Striker Barclay Goodrow was hit hard after blocking a Victor Hedman shot from close range while netting a third-half penalty. After going to the Rangers dressing room, he was able to come back and finish the game.
Goodrow missed 11 playoff games before returning late in the second round against Carolina after sustaining a broken left foot blocking a shot in Game 1 of the first round against Pittsburgh.
“What a blocked shot after coming back from what he’s already been through,” Copp said. “The result of the game is what it is, but when you have people like that you can always win with that. So it was good to get it back.”
Chris Kreider tied Rod Gilbert for the most playoff goals in Rangers history with 34. Gilbert did so in 79 games; it took 97 games for Kreider to do so.
Kreider has 12 power-play goals in the playoffs and is tied with Brian Leetch for second in franchise history. Adam Graves holds the record with 13.