Game Thread: New York Rangers vs Tampa Bay Lightning
A big test for the Rangers post deadline
After the 2018 NHL trade deadline, New York Rangers fans were understandably thinking a lot about the Tampa Bay Lightning. So it seems almost appropriate that the first team that the Rangers (27-26-9, 63 points) will play after the 2019 NHL trade deadline is Tampa (48-11-4, 100 points).
The Lightning are truly the beast of the East this season. They come into tonight’s game at the Garden with 100 points in 63 games this season. Tampa Bay is 9-0-1 in their last 10 games and have an impressive record of 22-6-2 on the road. Their offense is downright terrifying, which is likely why the Lightning felt comfortable standing pat at the deadline on Monday.
The player on Tampa that the Rangers’ problematic defense will need to try to contain is Nikita Kucherov. The Russian winger has already eclipsed the 100-point mark this season. As you might expect, he leads the Lightning in scoring by a significant margin, although Brayden Point having a huge year of his own with 79 points in 61 games this season. Kucherov has 40 points and Point has 31 points on the power play this season. Enough said.
Of course, tonight will also be Brendan Lemieux’s debut as a Ranger. Lemieux, 22, was acquired in the Kevin Hayes trade on Feb. 25. This will be Lemieux’s 54th career NHL game and 45th NHL game this season.
Brendan Lemieux Scouting Report
He will be in the lineup over Filip Chytil who is a scratch due to issues with effort level.
Chytil to be healthy scratch v Lightning. Effort. Sounds as if he could sit a while.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) February 26, 2019
With all that said, here are the projected lines for both sides.
New York Rangers
Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Jimmy Vesey
Vlad Namestnikov — Ryan Strome — Jesper Fast
Brendan Lemieux — Lias Andersson — Pavel Buchnevich
Connor Brickley — Boo Nieves — Brendan Smith
Brady Skjei — Neal Pionk
Marc Staal — Tony DeAngelo
Fredrik Claesson — Kevin Shattenkirk
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat — Steven Stamkos — J.T. MIller
Tyler Johnson — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Yanni Gourde
Adam Erne — Cedric Paquette — Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman — Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev — Anton Stralman
Please use this as your open thread for tonight’s game.