NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 8th
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (11-14-2) at New York Rangers (15-6-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers snapped a four-game slide to the Tampa
Bay Lightning on Saturday. If they want to avoid back-to-back losses for the
first time since late November, they'll need to do it again.
The Blueshirts look to rebound and hand the Bolts a season-high sixth straight
loss this evening at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers got two-point games from Brad Richards, Derek Stepan and Artem
Anisimov in a 4-2 win over the host Lightning last weekend in the first
meeting between the clubs after Tampa Bay swept the four-game season series a
The victory was New York's fifth in a row, but that run came to an end on
Monday in a 4-2 setback to Toronto. Anisimov and Marian Gaborik had the goals
and Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves as the Rangers saw their seven-game home
winning streak halted as well.
New York dropped to 7-2-1 as the host despite Richards pushing his point
streak to six straight games. A former Conn Smythe Trophy winner with the
Lightning when they won their 2004 Stanley Cup, Richards has four goals and
six assists over his points streak.
"I thought early we had a tough time keeping up with them," said Rangers head
coach John Tortorella, who coached the Lightning to that Stanley Cup title.
"As the game went on I thought we got back into it, but we couldn't come back
all the way."
The Blueshirts also lost Michael Sauer to a concussion that has him day-to-
day. He will not play tonight versus the Lightning, who are aiming for a third
straight road win over the Rangers though they have still lost six of their
last nine at MSG.
Tampa Bay will try to get on the right track after matching its longest losing
streak of the season on Tuesday with a 5-1 setback to the New York Islanders.
The Lightning endured an 0-3-2 skid from Oct. 8-17, but Tuesday's defeat was
their fifth in a row in regulation.
Martin St. Louis scored the game's first goal versus the Islanders at 6:55 of
the opening period, but Tampa Bay would not light the lamp again. Mathieu
Garon gave up five goals on 34 shots.
"It's tough," said St. Louis, who notched his 800th career point. "You've got
a down spiral like this; we're a fragile team right now. We were fine, got the
goal, going good and then they scored and we just collapsed."
Steven Stamkos had an assist to push his point streak to eight games. He has
five goals and six assists in that span, which is the longest point streak by
an NHL player so far this season.
Tampa Bay hasn't lost six in a row since Dec. 7-17, 2009 and will also be
looking to avoid a fifth straight road defeat this evening. The Lightning play
the third of four in a row on the road and are a mere 4-10-2 as the guest this
Nate Thompson suffered an upper-body injury versus the Islanders and is
questionable for tonight, while Pavel Kubina is doubtful because of a lower-
12/08 10:59:09 ET