Last 10: Tampa Bay (3-7-0); New York (5-4-1)
Season Series: Tampa Bay seeks to draw even tonight in the conclusion of the season series with the visiting Rangers. New York has taken two of the first three matches from Tampa Bay, with both victories coming in its home arena, Madison Square Garden. Tampa Bay won the first meeting of the year between the two teams, a 5-1 decision at the St. Pete Times Forum on Nov. 27, and looks to improve its mark to 2-0 this year at home against New York.
The Big Story: Steven Stamkos scored his 46th goal of the season on Wednesday to keep pace with Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin in the NHL’s goal-scoring race. Stamkos is bidding to become the youngest player to win the Rocket Richard Trophy since Rick Nash in 2004, and with four more goals, would become the third-youngest player in NHL history to score 50 or more goals behind Jimmy Carson and Wayne Gretzky.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay returns home tonight to kick off the first game of the team’s last home stand of the season, a four-game set which includes two matchups against teams in their own division. Tampa Bay is coming off a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday in which Steven Stamkos and Steve Downie each scored while Mike Smith made 27 saves to record his 10th career shutout. Martin St. Louis also added two assists for the Bolts, who improved to 6-4-1 in the final half of back-to-back games this season.
RANGERS – New York makes its third stop on a six-game road trip in Tampa tonight to take on the Lightning. The Rangers have won three of the last four, including a 4-3 victory over the Islanders on Tuesday. The Blueshirts climbed out of a first period two-goal hole by scoring three times in the second period on goals by Olli Jokinen, Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik, who became the first Rangers’ player to reach the 40-goal plateau since Jaromir Jagr scored 54 during the 2005-06 campaign. Henrik Lundqvist also added 25 saves for New York.
Who’s Hot: Steve Downie has tallied points in five of his last six and Mike Lundin has recorded points in four out of his last five for Tampa Bay. Martin St. Louis has amassed seven points in his last five, and Steven Stamkos also has 20 points in his last 17 games as well for the Lightning.
- New York has been led by Olli Jokinen who has three points, including two assists, in his last two games and Pierre Parenteau who has collected a pair of points in as many games.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Ryan Malone (upper body, day-to-day), David Hale (lower body, out), Matt Walker (lower back, day-to-day), Matt Smaby (back spasms, day-to-day) and Victor Hedman (lower body, day-to-day). RANGERS – Sean Avery, Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan.
Quotable: “Hats off to the boys. That’s a good team. We didn’t give them many Grade A chances. We shut them down in the neutral zone. To do that tells a lot about the character of the guys in this room.” – Lightning goaltender Mike Smith after the team’s 2-0 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday
tampabaylightning.com is the official Web site of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay Lightning and tampabaylightning.com are trademarks of Lightning Hockey L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Lightning Hockey, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.