New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Dominic Moore had the go-ahead goal deflect in off his right leg with 2:25 remaining in the third period, as the New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Derek Stepan scored the other goal for the Rangers, who got 23 saves from Henrik Lundqvist in their NHL-record 15th consecutive one-goal postseason game.
"I thought considering the fact that we had just finished a really emotional seven-game series, our guys came out really strong tonight, focused, and executed really well against a really quick team," said New York coach Alain Vigneault.
Ondrej Palat scored on a third-period power play for Tampa Bay. Ben Bishop allowed two goals on 30 shots to suffer his first loss in nine career games against the Rangers.
Game 2 is Monday night in New York.
Stepan ended a scoreless deadlock with 12.7 seconds remaining in the second period, scoring on a goalmouth scramble.
Chris Kreider gathered a loose puck, spun around in the slot and fired a shot toward Bishop. The shot was blocked by Tampa Bay defenseman Andrej Sustr's right skate, but Stepan, the Game 7 overtime hero in New York's last series against Washington, was able to stuff the puck past Bishop.
Tampa Bay got a power play early in the third when New York captain Ryan McDonagh clipped Tyler Johnson with a high stick. On the ensuing man advantage, Johnson sent a cross-ice pass to Palat, whose one-timer from the right circle beat Lundqvist high on the glove side at the 6:45 mark.
The Rangers killed two penalties later in the third, including a tripping infraction on Moore, who was in the right place at the right time 30 seconds after exiting the box.
Kevin Hayes' sharp-angle shot from the left side of the ice went in off Moore as he skated toward the crease.
"It's easy to sit here and say we could have scored," said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. "We had our chances (on the power play). We didn't score, and they got the break at the end."
The Rangers controlled much of the play in the first period, but the game remained scoreless.
Bishop gloved a Hayes wrister off a nifty drop pass from Rick Nash and got his left arm on a rising Stepan shot on a breakaway. A turnover by Bishop resulted in Hayes ringing a shot off the post.
Dan Girardi had an open net late in the period but was not able to get a shot off before a Tampa Bay player swept the puck away.
In the second period, the teams traded 2-on-1 chances while skating 4-on-4. Bishop then made a right pad save on J.T. Miller from the doorstep during the Rangers' abbreviated power play.
Tampa Bay forward and former New York captain Ryan Callahan played after undergoing an emergency appendectomy earlier in the week ... The Rangers and Lightning are meeting in the playoffs for the first time ... Tampa Bay swept all three regular-season matchups with New York by a combined 15-7 margin, but the teams last played on Dec. 1 ... The Rangers are the first team to reach the Eastern Conference finals three times in four years since the New Jersey Devils did so between 2000-03 ... Tampa Bay is in the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in franchise history and first since 2011 ... New York had not allowed a power-play goal in each of the final six games of its series with Washington.