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Lightning's turn to make defensive adjustments

New York Rangers right wing Kevin Hayes (13)

New York Rangers right wing Kevin Hayes (13) tries to keep the puck fromTampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula (51) during the first period of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. Credit: AP / Phelan M. Ebenhack

Tampa Bay's corrections for Sunday night's Game 5 seem pretty simple: Score more, give up less.

Scoring goals would not have appeared to be an issue for a Lightning team that pumped in 12 goals in Games 2 and 3, but Tampa Bay's Game 4 issues weren't about lack of opportunities, just lack of conversion. The Lightning threw 39 shots on Henrik Lundqvist, who was superb, but there also were glorious chances in the first two periods for some of Tampa Bay's best forwards that misfired.

"I think we spent a lot of time in their zone, had a lot of good chances and should have scored a few more goals," Lightning center Valtteri Filppula said. "Obviously, that's the plan. But I don't think we need to change too many things, just play a little bit better defensively."

That's because the focus has shifted from Lundqvist and the defensively stingy Rangers allowing six goals in consecutive games to the Lightning to Ben Bishop allowing five goals in consecutive games heading into Game 5.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper had a short answer to whether he'd consider sitting Bishop on Sunday night for rookie Andrei Vaslievskiy.

"Asinine," Cooper told reporters in Tampa before the Lightning departed for New York. "Well, OK, we're not allowed to use that word in print? What would be another word for that?"

Preposterous was offered. "Preposterous. OK, that's one more syllable than asinine. It's more powerful."

So the only changes coming in Game 5 will be in defensive effort, not in the Lightning lineup.

The Rangers were able to snap a 1-1 tie during Tampa Bay's dominating second period with a pair of goals in a 1:48 span thanks to a strong forecheck and traffic in front of Bishop, two areas in which the Lightning had been successful in the first three games.

"I think we can definitely do a better job of limiting the quality of their chances and trying to keep them to the outside a little bit more," Tampa Bay defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "They scored some goals in front of the net, so maybe that's an area we can clean up as well."

Game 4 could have turned out very differently had Nikita Kucherov converted his golden chance in the first period, when the Game 3 overtime hero was left alone in front of Lundqvist but missed high and wide.

The same could have been true when Tyler Johnson rang a shot off the crossbar later in the first before Rick Nash got the Rangers going. The Triplets line totaled only seven shot attempts in Game 4 and zero goals, a far cry from the big-number outings that line had in the previous two games.

"Could you ask for anything more in the first [10] minutes than to have Kucherov and Johnson by themselves in front of the net?" Cooper said Friday. "People are going to look at the boxscore and say, 'Wow, Tampa got waxed.' We had our looks."

Notes & quotes: Cooper had no update on D Matt Carle, who missed Game 4 after leaving Game 3 in the first period following a collision with Derek Stepan. Carle did travel with the team for Sunday's Game 5.

New York Sports