Tampa Bay Lightning
New York
Rangers
44-26-12
Tampa Bay
Lightning
43-33-6
SO
23 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTsoT
NYR ()
TBL ()
game preview

Rangers-Lightning Preview

Saturday, 03.25.2006 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

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Rangers-Lightning Preview
New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

GAME: New York Rangers (39-20-11) at Tampa Bay Lightning (37-28-5).

TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Tampa Bay Lightning look to win their fourth straight home game and continue their push to defend the Stanley Cup they host the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers.

The Lightning and New Jersey Devils are tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 79 points. Both teams have a three-point lead over eighth-place Atlanta and are four points in front of ninth-place Montreal.

Tampa Bay will play eight of its final 12 at home, where they have won three in a row coming into this contest.

The Lightning needed overtime to extend their home win streak as Pavel Kubina scored 37 seconds into the extra session for a 4-3 win Thursday over Washington.

"It's a huge extra point for us because there's a lot of teams chasing us from behind," Kubina said.

Rookie Ryan Craig and Ruslan Fedotenko continue to provide offensive lifts for the Lightning. Craig has four goals and three assists during a career-high four-game points streak while Fedotenko has goals in each of his last three games.

Goalie John Grahame rebounded from a subpar performance in the Tampa Bay's 6-5 overtime loss to Florida on Monday to stop 27 shots against the Caps. Grahame is 4-2-1 all-time against New York with a 1.82 goals-against average and he recorded a shutout in the Lightning's 1-0 win over the Rangers on Jan. 3.

"This is a good hockey team," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "We get in, if we get in, we're going to be a dangerous hockey team."

New York picked up a point in its 3-2 shootout loss Friday against Florida and enters this game with a one-point lead over second-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.

"Right now that could be an extremely valuable point," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "Tonight, it is."

Red-hot Jaromir Jagr became the third player in Rangers history to score 50 goals in a season, joining Vic Hadfield and Adam Graves.

Jagr has a seven-game point streak with seven goals and six assists in those games, but hasn't scored a goal in three games against the Lightning this season.

Michael Nylander assisted on Jagr's goal against the Panthers, and has a season-high six-game point streak with four goals and eight assists in that span.

New York has only allowed only five goals in three games against Tampa Bay this season.

STANDINGS: Rangers - 89 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Lightning - 79 points, 2nd place, 19 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Jagr, 50 goals, 55 assists and 105 points; Darius Kasparaitis, 95 PIM. Lightning - Vincent Lecavalier, 32 goals; Brad Richards, 55 assists and 76 points; Lecavalier and Kubina, 86 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Rangers - Power play: 19.2 percent (73 for 380), 6th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (358 for 422), 5th. Lightning - Power play: 16.3 percent (68 for 417), 23rd. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (280 for 341), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist (28-10-8, 2 SO, 2.17 GAA); Kevin Weekes (11-10-2, 0, 2.85). Lightning - Grahame (26-18-1, 5, 3.01); Gerald Coleman (0-0-1, 0, 2.79).

SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 3; Lightning 1-0. At New York, Vaclav Prospal scored in overtime, and Grahame made 36 saves for his second shutout of the season.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 17-12-5 on the road; Lightning - 19-12-2 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 25 '06NYR 3 at TBL 4 - SOB. Richards
Jan 03 '06TBL 1 at NYR 0 - OTV. Prospal
Dec 22 '05TBL 2 at NYR 4T. Poti
Nov 10 '05NYR 5 at TBL 2D. Moore
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%