After a quick two game home stand earlier in the week, the Blueshirts are back on the road tonight. Gerard Gallant’s squad will attempt to complete a season series sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning by securing a win in Amalie Arena. New York’s two previous wins came as the calendar turned from December to January, with both the final game of 2021 as well as the first game of 2022 being victories against Jon Cooper’s Lightning.
Tampa Bay will have reinforcements they didn’t have in the previous two matchups, as the recently acquired forward Brandon Hagel is set to make his Lightning debut tonight. Tampa Bay shelled out a pair of first round picks plus two defensive prospects for Hagel, and he is set to skate for them tonight.
Player to Watch: Alexis Lafreniere
Just as Tampa acquired Hagel from the Chicago Blackhawks, Lafreniere’s name has been mentioned as a player who could also be traded to Chicago. The Rangers have been loosely linked to the Blackhawks, and Lafreniere has been seen as a logical target for a rebuilding Chicago franchise. However, both Larry Brooks and Arthur Staple came out today and cited sources within the organization that the Blueshirts have no intentions of dealing Lafreniere. Look for him to have a strong game tonight with that weight lifted off of his shoulders.
Enjoy the game!