Buzzer Fight Breaks Out As Rangers Drop Game 5 Against Lightning, 3-1

The New York Rangers may have struck first, but the Tampa Bay Lightning delivered the knockout punch.

Thursday night's Game 5 was anticipated as the deciding win in the series, with both teams tied at 2-2.

New York was hoping for a hometown stand after dropping two straight against Tampa Bay. Instead, they lost the fight. Somewhat literally.

Ryan Lindgren broke the scoreboard's dry spell in the second period, netting the game's first goal for the Rangers, 1-0. Advantage: New York.

However, Tampa's Mikhail Sergachev recorded his first goal in the last 40 playoff appearances, tying up the score at 1-1 in the second.

New York welcomed back Ryan Strome, but a crucial miss to go up made his return a bittersweet watch.

With less than two minutes left in the third, both teams were tied at 1-1 and staring down another overtime session until Sergachev hit his second goal of the night, past Chris Kreider and goalie Igor Shesterkin.

Brandon Hagel buried the Rangers with an empty netter as the clock hit 58 seconds.

As the clock drew near expiration, Tampa's Nikita Kucherov seemed eager to squeeze in a last-second goal to throw salt on the wound for New York. After a healthy shove was delivered in response, an all-out brawl broke out.

Lightning cap Steven Stamkos and Rangers left winger Alexis Lafreniere showcased all the main card action as they swapped brutal swings. Surrounding teammates started their spats and the players were separated (with Stamkos the clear winner).

Lafreniere left the ice with a cut on the side of his face, mirroring the wounded Rangers team now down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference final.

Tampa Bay is 8-2 in series where they lead 3-2.

New York looks to stay alive on Saturday as they face off in Game 6.

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

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Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan. Known for having watched every movie and constant craving for dessert. @alejandroaveela (on X)