By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Rangers 2-0 in Game Seven on Friday to win the Eastern Conference championship and book their spot in the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup Finals.
The Lightning will meet either the Anaheim Ducks or the Chicago Blackhawks, who play a Game Seven on Saturday for the Western Conference title.
After two pressure-packed, scoreless periods, Lightning center Alex Killorn opened the scoring almost two minutes into the third.
Spinning off the wall and skating toward the middle, Killorn flicked a backhand through a crowd that trickled past Henrik Lundqvist on the glove side.
Tampa Bay delivered the hammer blow nine minutes later when Tyler Johnson raced up the right and delivered the puck perfectly to Ondrej Palat, who buried it past Lundqvist.
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop stopped all 22 shots from the Rangers, while Lundqvist saved 23 shots in the defensive battle.
The Lightning will be playing in the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in their 22-year existence, having beaten Calgary to win the Cup in 2004.
It was a gut-wrenching loss for the Rangers, who had the best regular season record, after losing in the Finals last year to the Los Angeles Kings.
The best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals series begins on Wednesday.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)