NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 9th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (23-24-5) at New York Rangers (33-13-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will try to rebound from a controversial loss when they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning for tonight's battle at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers dropped a 1-0 regulation decision Tuesday against the visiting New Jersey Devils, ending a streak of five straight games (4-0-1) with a point.
Although Martin Brodeur extended his NHL record with the 117th shutout of his career, Rangers forward Marian Gaborik thinks the Devils goaltender should still be stuck on 116. New York appeared to tie the game with 3.5 seconds left, but Gaborik crashed into Brodeur and was called for goalie interference, negating Artem Anisimov's potential equalizer.
"I don't understand the call. If I was running I wouldn't say a word but I tried to stop, put my stick for Cally's (Ryan Callahan) pass and he pushes me into Brodeur," said Gaborik. "It's frustrating. We should be in overtime right now."
In the end, Brodeur made David Clarkson's first-period goal stand up for the win, while New York netminder Henrik Lundqvist was the hard-luck loser. Lundqvist stopped 21-of-22 shots, but still saw a personal four-game winning streak come to an end.
"The difference was Brodeur," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella, who refused to comment on the controversial ending. "He made some terrific saves in the third period."
Despite the setback, New York is still leading the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference with 71 points.
The Blueshirts haven't lost consecutive games since dropping tilts to Dallas and St. Louis on Dec. 13 and 15, respectively. Tuesday's setback dropped New York's record at MSG to 16-6-2 this season.
The Lightning ended January on a season-high five-game win streak, but have lost two of three to begin February. Tampa was in action Tuesday against the visiting Los Angeles Kings and dropped a 3-1 decision at Tampa Times Forum. Kyle Clifford scored the eventual game-winner for the Kings on a breakaway midway through the second period.
Steven Stamkos notched his league-leading 35th goal for the Lightning and Dwayne Roloson stopped 17-of-20 shots in a losing effort.
"They're a very opportunistic team," Roloson said. "They tighten down in the defensive zone and don't have any openings at all in their zone."
The Lightning are opening a three-game road trip tonight and have a poor 8-16-3 record as the guest this season. Tampa needs to improve its road game if it wants to make the playoffs, as the Bolts are currently 10 points out of a playoff spot in the East.
On the injury front for Tampa, forward Ryan Malone has been out since suffering an upper-body injury against Phoenix on Jan. 21, but he did skate with the team on Tuesday for the first time since the injury. He could make a return during the Lightning's road trip.
Tampa and the Rangers have split two meetings this year, with each team winning a tilt on the road. The Bolts have taken five of six overall in the series and have won three straight in the Big Apple.
02/09 10:34:30 ET