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Rangers eye 4th straight win vs. Lightning
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers will try to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tuesday's battle at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers have been playing their best hockey of the season over the past few weeks, winning three straight, four of five and eight of their last 11 games.
New York was able to leap over Philadelphia in the Metropolitan Division standings on Sunday after a 4-1 home win against the Flyers. Daniel Carcillo, Rick Nash and Derick Brassard tallied in a span of seven-plus minutes early in the contest, and Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves to help the Blueshirts cruise to the win over their divisional rivals. Chris Kreider added a goal and one assist for the Rangers.
"The way we started the game helped everyone in here," Lundqvist said. "We got the crowd going and we got ourselves going."
The regulation win moved the Rangers into a tie for second place with Washington in the Metro and the Flyers are one point back in fourth. Washington host San Jose on Tuesday, while Philadelphia will play in Buffalo. The top three teams in each division receive an automatic berth to the playoffs.
New York improved to 10-10-3 as the host this season after Sunday's win. The club is playing the third test of a four-game homestand tonight and will cap the residency Thursday versus Detroit.
Tuesday's test is the final regular-season meeting between the Rangers and Lightning, who split a pair of games in Tampa Bay earlier this season. New York has won the last three encounters in the Big Apple.
Tampa Bay is hoping to get Ben Bishop back on Tuesday after the club's No. 1 goaltender was activated from injured reserve on Monday. Bishop, who has sat out the last four games with a sprained right wrist, has been one of the best goaltenders in the NHL this season, going 22-5-3 with a 1.86 goals against average and .935 save percentage. He is also second in the league with four shutouts.
The Lightning have lost two of their last three games and were dealt a 3-2 regulation loss Monday at Columbus despite carrying a 2-1 lead into the third period. The Blue Jackets scored two power-play goals in the third period, including the game-winner from Mark Letestu with just 2:38 remaining in the game.
Tampa's Tyler Johnson went off for hooking with just under four minutes remaining. After a few opportunities on the man advantage, the hosts converted. Jack Johnson launched a shot from the point and Letestu redirected the shot to beat Anders Lindback.
"[Lindback] really couldn't see them," said Tampa's Alex Killorn on shots from the point. "We have to do a better job."
The Lightning received goals from Killorn and Victor Hedman, while Lindback allowed three goals on 28 shots.
Tampa Bay lost for the third time in five games and fell to 13-10-2 as the visiting team this season. The Lightning are completing a three-game road trip on Tuesday before playing four of their next five tilts on home ice.
01/14 10:58:37 ET