The Lightning aren't panicking. The defending Stanley Cup winners are down 2-0 to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinal but remain confident.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: "Nobody expects us to win 4-0." Rangers won the first two games at home and will play Sunday at Amalie Arena.

Tampa Bay lost two playoff games for the first time in three years due to poor puck handling and a lack of urgency, according to coach Jon Cooper.

Cooper was encouraged by his team's second-half response in a 3-2 loss in Game 1, but he said the defending champs have "better in us."

"You may lose two playoff games in a row. The Lightning's streak of 18 consecutive wins after a postseason setback ended Friday night.

"You may lose two playoff games in a row. The Lightning's streak of 18 consecutive wins after a postseason setback ended Friday night.Did we miss playoffs? Cooper agreed. "Is there a hill? No doubt."

The Lightning believe they have the talent, resiliency, and leadership to overcome a slow start.

Tampa Bay nearly erased a two-goal deficit in the final minutes of Game 2, said Cooper. "We'll need more of that to win the series."

Rangers have won six of seven, outscoring opponents 28-13. After a 2-0 lead, they've won 11 of 13 series.

The Lightning haven't faced a two-game playoff deficit since being swept by Columbus in 2019. In 2014 and 2018, they were eliminated after falling down 2-0.

Two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers aren't getting too excited.

“It's exciting, but we were on the other side when we were down 2-0 (against Carolina in the second round),” Rangers forward Adam Fox said.

"We've become better on the road as the playoffs have gone on," Fox said. I think it's crucial to play the same way on the road as we do at home.

Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko continue to impress for the Rangers, and Igor Shesterkin has outplayed Andrei Vasilevskiy (5-0, including regular season).

Shesterkin had 29 saves to Vasilevskiy's 25 in Game 2, and K'Andre Miller called him "unreal."

"Obviously, (the Rangers) trust him, let him do his thing, try to restrict his chances by blocking shots," Miller said. Shesty will stop the puck.

Despite leading the series 2-0, the Rangers goalkeeper said fellow Russian Vasilevskiy is the world's finest.

"Right now, it doesn't matter. “The series is to four wins,” Shesterkin added. "Keep playing"