|TBL||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|NYR||2||1||1||(0 - 0)||4|
Lightning (9-9-1, 19 Points) at Rangers (8-8-2, 18 Points)
TV/Radio: Sun Sports HD; AM 970 WFLA
Tampa Bay and New York face off in the third and final meeting of the season at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers thus far this season have taken each of the first two contests, winning once at Tampa Bay and an additional time in their own home arena approximately just one week later.
The Lightning look to snap a two-game losing streak as they kick off a four-game road trip through the Northeast. Tampa Bay currently stands atop the Southeast Division in a three-way tie for first, joined also by the Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets. New York, meanwhile, has lost four in a row and will look to get back on the winning track to gain some ground of its own in the Atlantic Division standings, where they are currently eight points behind first-place Pittsburgh.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay embarks on a four-game road trip through the Northeast that begins Thursday in New York City, and also sees the team travel through Boston, Pittsburgh and New Jersey, respectively. After winning three of their past four, the Bolts have seemed to cool off a bit, as they enter the road trip as losers of two straight. On Sunday, the Lightning fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 in a contest that preceded the team’s most recent game, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
Steven Stamkos scored the team’s only goal to put Tampa Bay out to an early 1-0 lead, but it wasn’t enough to slow Buffalo, which scored twice in succession, and received a 30-save effort from Ryan Miller to hand the Lightning the loss, despite the home team generating a good number of quality scoring chances.
RANGERS – New York hosts the Lightning in the second contest of a four-game homestand. After winning five of their first seven games to start the month of February, the Rangers have fallen to fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, just one point ahead of the fifth-place Islanders, following a four-game losing streak that the team will look to turn around Thursday against Tampa Bay. Part of that can be assessed to the team’s current scoring woes, as New York’s three goals on Tuesday night in a 4-3 defeat to the Jets were the most it has scored since matching that total on February 14. After Ryan Callahan got the Rangers on the board, Taylor Pyatt and Anton Stralman each scored in the final frame that began with the Rangers down 3-1, but a tally from Winnipeg’s Evander Kane proved to be the difference in earning the Jets the win.
The active six-game goal scoring streak of Lightning forward Steven Stamkos is the longest by any NHL player this season. Cory Conacher also comes in riding a six-game point streak, recording a pair of goals and four assists in that span. New York’s Derek Stepan has collected points in three of his past five games for the Rangers.
RANGERS – Rick Nash (Undisclosed) and Ryan McDonagh (Head).
Rangers forward Brad Richards was drafted at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by Tampa Bay and won the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy as a member of the Stanley Cup champion Lightning. New York defenseman Matt Gilroy also is a former Bolt, as he skated in 53 games with the Lightning last season. Rangers blueliner Steve Eminger is formerly of the Lightning, and appeared in 50 games with Tampa Bay throughout the 2008-09 season. New York forward Taylor Pyatt is also the older brother of Lightning forward Tom Pyatt. Rangers head coach John Tortorella led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup championship in 2004, with current Rangers assistant Mike Sullivan serving in the same capacity with the Bolts that same year.
Steven Stamkos @RealStamkos91 leads the #NHL with 14 goals and enters the game tied with Sidney Crosby for the league lead in points with 30.
Tampa Bay has allowed just five power-play goals on the road this season, tied for the fourth-fewest total in the league this season.
The Bolts have logged 127:25 of power-play time this season, which ranks ninth in the league.
#TBLightning are 7-2-0 this season when scoring first, good for a .778 win percentage, which is the fifth-best mark in the NHL.
The #TBLightning's 70 goals on the season are an #NHL-best.
“A loss is a loss right now, and it's not fun. We realize we are in a situation where we are still in a battle for first place in our division. As few points as we have been getting the past few weeks, we are still in the fight for the division, and that's a positive thing to hopefully keep the spirits up here.” – Steven Stamkos, speaking about the Lightning’s recent troubles
|Feb 28 '13||TBL 1 at NYR 4||D. Stepan|
|Feb 10 '13||TBL 1 at NYR 5||R. Callahan|
|Feb 02 '13||NYR 3 at TBL 2||C. Hagelin|
|M. St. Louis||20||5||20||25||+0||2||2||1|
|M. Del Zotto||17||2||5||7||+5||8||0||0|