The Rangers look to make it 10 wins in a row as they head to Florida to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning have been off to a rough start, posting a 8-9-3 record, good for fifth in the Atlantic division. A big factor of that sub-.500 record is that they have sustained a lot of injuries. They are missing Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin, Cedric Paquette, and Tyler Johnson, while Ryan Callahan will be a game-time decision. The Lightning rank 10th in the NHL for man-games lost, at 54.
The Lightning will be icing a mix of NHL and AHL talent tonight. As stated, they have quite a few injured players, which means players from the Syracuse Crunch have had to step up. Rookies in the lineup tonight include Mike Angelidis, Jonathan Marchessault, Mike Blunden, and Joel Vermin. Ryan Callahan could play tonight; he will be a game time decision. Starting in net tonight will be Ben Bishop (6-7-2, 2.26, .918). The Lightning are coming off a shootout loss against the Florida Panthers. Here is the projected Tampa lineup (will be updated as info comes out):
Update: Ryan Callahan will not play tonight. The Lightning will dress 11 forwards and 7 defensemen.
Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Marchessault
J.T. Brown - Brian Boyle - Erik Condra
Joel Vermin - Mike Blunden
Anton Stralman - Victor Hedman
Braydon Coburn - Jason Garrison
Matthew Carle - Andrej Sustr
The Rangers lineup will be nearly identical to their win over Toronto, the only change being Dan Boyle will be in for Dylan McIlrath. Henrik Lundqvist (10-2-2, 1.69, .947) will get the start in net. Here is the complete Rangers lineup:
Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - J.T. Miller
Oscar Lindberg - Kevin Hayes - Viktor Stalberg
Dominic Moore - Jarret Stoll - Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Kevin Klein
Keith Yandle - Dan Boyle
The key to this game will be taking advantage of a ragtag lineup and tiring them out. With a completely healthy lineup, I expect the Rangers to skate circles around Tampa tonight. Also, with Bishop's lack of confidence in recent games, any puck on net can be dangerous (see: Jonathan Bernier). Let's make it ten in a row.
Let's go Rangers.