LIGHTNING (27-15-4) vs. RANGERS (24-20-3)
Tampa Bay 5-4-1; Rangers 7-2-1
Sun Sports; AM 970 WFLA
The Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers meet for the last time this season Tuesday. While the Bolts have outscored the Rangers 8-4 in two games this year, each team has recorded one win
It was just the second time this campaign that the Lightning lost after leading at the start of the final period of play Tuesday. The Bolts now attempt to re-gain their composure on the road where they have won seven out of the last nine.
LIGHTNING – Tuesday was the second straight game where goaltender, Anders Lindback, bailed Tampa Bay out of the first period due to poor performance and the team immediately responded by upping the intensity in the middle frame. After coming up empty on the first four man-advantages, the Columbus Blue Jackets converted on their fifth and sixth opportunities of the game for a 3-2 lead with less than three minutes remaining, which the Bolts could not recover from.
At the conclusion of the game head coach Jon Cooper backed Lindback's strong play, which has steadily came along in his fifth straight contest. The Lightning will now see if Ben Bishop, who was activated from injured reserve Monday, can get back between the pipes for the first time in more than a week.
Two others on the Bolts' lineup whose progress should be monitored – Sami Salo and Keith Aulie. Salo is recovering from a short term lower body injury and Aulie is working his way back from a broken hand. Both these blueliners are on the verge of return.
RANGERS – The Rangers have catapulted themselves into a tie for second place in the Metropolitan Division standings thanks in big part to the improved play of netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist, who was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week for the week ending January 12, is 5-1-1 in his past seven games. In Lundqvist's most recent success, he stopped 37 of 38 shots faced against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-1 victory. The Rangers goalie credited patience as the key to his improved play and that in turn has benefited the entire team.
With an 8-2-1 record since the end of December the Blueshirts have won their past three tilts, including two straight at home. Tuesday's game is the third game of a four-game homestand at Madison Square Garden for the Rangers, which wraps up against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
Defenseman Matt Carle is currently riding a seven-game point streak (nine assists). Carle's point streak is also currently the longest active streak in the NHL.
1/13 – Reassigned G Cedrick Desjardins to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
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