NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, December 29th
(All times Eastern)
New York Rangers (18-19-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (23-11-4), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Following a disappointing homestand, the New York
Rangers did not get their five-game road trip off to the best of starts.
The Blueshirts seek to rebound on Sunday night as they visit the Tampa Bay
New York went 3-4-2 over the longest residency in team history, then began its
current trek with a 3-2 loss at the Washington Capitals on Friday. Carl
Hagelin and Benoit Pouliot both scored to erase one-goal deficits, but the
Caps' Eric Fehr had the winner with 5:09 left in the game.
Cam Talbot made 31 saves in his third straight start following wins over
Minnesota and Toronto.
"It was definitely a hard-fought game by both teams," said New York head coach
Alain Vigneault. "I thought five-on-five, I really liked the way we competed
Pouliot ran his career-high point streak to six straight games, notching three
goals and three assists over the run to account for half of his 12 points this
However, New York did lose defenseman Anton Stralman to an undisclosed injury
in the first period and he is day-to-day. Rookie blueliner Conor Allen was
recalled from the American Hockey League.
The Rangers do appear close to getting defenseman Marc Staal back from a
concussion that has sidelined him for the past nine games. He took part in
morning skate on Friday, is expected to start practicing with the club and may
be back on this road trip.
Forwards Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello both missed practice on Saturday due
to the flu.
After giving way to Talbot for the past three games, Henrik Lundqvist is
expected to start tonight. He has gone 1-4-2 in his last seven starts, giving
up at least three goals in each game.
The veteran is 16-8-6 with a 2.17 goals against average in his career versus
the Lightning, but took a loss on Nov. 25 in Tampa after yielding four goals
on 22 shots through two periods.
Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell scored twice for the Lightning and Ben
Bishop made 37 saves as the Bolts opened their season series versus the
Rangers with a win after dropping all three meetings last season.
Tampa Bay has won nine of its last 14 at home versus New York.
The Lightning had a season-high five-game winning streak snapped on Saturday
night, but did record a point for the 10th time in their last 11 games with a
2-1 shootout setback to the Montreal Canadiens.
Martin St. Louis had a goal in regulation, but the offense failed to light the
lamp in the tiebreaker. Bishop was bested once in the shootout after stopping
20 shots through overtime.
The Lightning entered the third period tied with the Habs despite having just
nine shots in the game. They got on track with 14 shots in the third period.
"We played a great third period, but had a couple of chances that just
missed," said Bishop. "This game could have went either way tonight."
Tampa Bay moved to 7-1-3 in its last 11 games thanks in part to St. Louis, who
has 38 points in 38 games this season, including four goals and four assists
on a current six-game point streak.
The Bolts played without defensemen Eric Brewer (arm) and Sami Salo (upper
body) due to injury.
Bishop is 4-0-0 with a 0.89 GAA and two shutouts in four career games (3
starts) versus the Rangers. Backup Anders Lindback is 0-1-0 against them with
a 2.69 GAA in one start and one relief appearance.
12/29 10:23:28 ET