The Tampa Bay Lightning are 3-6-1 in their last ten games and will have to find a way to elevate their recent mediocre play against the red hot Rangers tonight at home. Stamkos and the Lightning are 3-4-1 on their home ice thus far this season. The big story line coming into tonight's ECF rematch is that the Bolts will be without some crucial forwards for tonight's game from their top nine.
- Jonathan Drouin
- Ondrej Palat
- Cedric Paquette
- Tyler Johnson
That is a lot of firepower left on the shelf for Tampa.
Former New York Rangers' captain Ryan Callahan is also questionable for tonight's game. Cally took part in the optional morning skate today with Tampa, but he has been struggling with a lower body injury and is considered to be a game-time decision. Knowing Cally, if there is any chance at all that he can go we will almost certainly see him in the lineup and if that is the case he'll plug into Tampa's top six. Tampa has made several call-ups with all of their injuries and there is a chance that Joel Vermin will be making his NHL debut tonight.
Obviously, the Rangers can ill-afford to take Tampa Bay lightly, especially while Steven Stamkos is still in the lineup and on the power play. Tonight's game presents the Rangers with a golden opportunity to win their tenth straight game and to push their streak of going undefeated in regulation streak to its thirteenth game.
Stamkos has been centering Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov recently on the line that Tampa will depend on to produce for them against the Rangers with so much of their top nine not dressed for tonight's game. With so many young, unproven players in the lineup, the Bolts are going to have to play a smart, physical game and hope to frustrate the Blueshirts and make their mark on the man advantage. Ben Bishop will be getting the start for Tampa. He's 6-7-2 with a .918 SV% and a 2.16 GAA in the first quarter of the 2015-16 NHL season.
Tonight's starter Henrik Lundqvist on ice working with tonight's scratches Emerson Etem and Dylan McIlrath.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) November 19, 2015
The Rangers currently have no one struggling with any known injury issues heading into tonight's tilt with the team that bested them in the Eastern Conference Final in the 2015 Playoffs. I wouldn't be surprised if tonight's game carries a little more weight than the average regular season game for players on both teams. It's hard to believe, but the Rangers will be hunting their tenth straight win in a little over two hours.
Hank is in net. The puck drops tonight at 7:35.
Thanks for reading. Let's go Rangers.