Lightning open up homestand against Rangers
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning hope a return home can help the club get back on track, as they begin a three-game homestand with Monday's battle against the New York Rangers.
The Lightning went 0-3-1 on a recent road trip and the four-game slide is the club's longest slide of the season. Prior to the current slump, Tampa Bay had not lost two consecutive tilts at any point in 2013-14.
Tampa, which is playing five of its next six games on home ice, is 8-2-0 as the host this season and just 6-6-1 on the road.
The Bolts did manage to get a point in the finale of the tough swing, dropping a 1-0 overtime decision Friday night at Anaheim. Tampa Bay had surrendered a total of 16 goals during the first three games of the trip, but yielded only Ryan Getzlaf's game-winning tally with eight seconds left in OT against the Ducks.
Tampa goaltender Ben Bishop was a tough-luck loser on Friday, as he was saddled with the loss despite making 41 saves to keep the Lightning in the game. However, he couldn't cleanly handle Getzlaf's attempt that barely crossed the goal line with time winding down.
The Lightning had routed the Ducks in Tampa by a 5-1 count just eight days prior to Friday's game.
"What goes around comes around. At some point that bounce will go our way, it just didn't tonight," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.
Tampa, of course, is still playing without star centerman Steven Stamkos, who broke his right tibia earlier this month. Including the Nov. 11 game in Boston that saw Stamkos break his bone in the second period, the Bolts are just 2-4-1 since the devastating injury. There is no official timetable for Stamkos' return, but he expects to play again this season.
The Rangers enter Monday's tilt on a two-game winning streak as they are 2-0 at the start of five-game road trip. New York began the swing with Thursday's 3-2 win in Dallas and then notched a 2-0 victory over Nashville on Saturday.
All told, the Rangers have won six straight on the road, giving the Blueshirts their longest winning stretch as the visitor since a six-game surge from Jan. 19-March 2, 2006. New York has not won seven consecutive road games since setting a franchise mark from Oct. 28-Nov. 29, 1978.
Cam Talbot posted his second consecutive shutout with a 17-save effort to help the Rangers extend their road winning streak. Talbot also stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 1-0 Rangers' victory at Montreal on Nov. 16.
The rookie Talbot is 5-1-0 with a sparkling 1.32 goals against average and excellent .949 save percentage in six starts this season, all of which have come on the road.
Talbot's workload on Saturday was relatively easy, considering No. 1 netminder Henrik Lundqvist had to make 41 saves in Thursday's win over the Stars.
"I could get used to this, for sure," Talbot said. "The guys have played unbelievably in front of me the past two games."
Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan each netted goals to support Talbot on Saturday, while Mats Zuccarello assisted on both New York markers.
Lundqvist is 16-7-6 with a 2.08 goals against average in 29 career starts against Tampa. Talbot has never faced the Lightning.
The Rangers have won three straight and four of the past five games in the series against the Lightning. Tampa also has dropped two of three on home ice versus the Blueshirts.
11/25 11:12:51 ET