Lightning blank Rangers to advance to Stanley Cup Final

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Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) and left wing Ondrej Palat (18) celebrate Palat’s third period goal against the New York Rangers during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Friday, May 29, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning will play for the Stanley Cup, winning their third straight game at Madison Square Garden 2-0 on Friday night to beat the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals in seven games.

Ben Bishop, pulled from a Game 6 loss after allowing five goals, outplayed Henrik Lundqvist in handing New York its first loss ever in a Game 7 at the Garden. Alex Killorn scored early in the third period and Ondrej Palat iced it.

The Lightning, who won the Cup in 2004 in their only trip to the finals, will play Chicago or Anaheim for the championship. The Blackhawks are at the Ducks on Saturday night in the Western Conference’s decisive game.

New York had the league’s best record this season and was 15-3 in its last 18 elimination games. The most recent defeat was in the fifth game of the Cup finals last year at Los Angeles. But Bishop made sure there would be another loss for the Rangers, extending his shutout string at the Garden to 145 minutes, 43 seconds.

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