How far will the Rangers get this season?

Game Day: Rangers take on the Lightning
After four days off the Rangers will be back in action Thursday night at the Garden

The Rangers need to get Marian Gaborik going

The Rangers need to get Marian Gaborik going

Tampa Bay Lightning @ New York Rangers

7:00 p.m. Thursday, Madison Square Garden

Rangers record: 20-14-1

Lightning record: 19-10-4


The New York Rangers are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference and trail the Tampa Bay Lightning by a single point.  With four days in between their last match against the Philadelphia Flyers, and their next game on Thursday against the Lightning, who will be playing the second game of a back-to-back, the Rangers should be very fresh. 

They’ll have to be, because the Lightning is one of the hottest teams in hockey, and have won four straight and 11 of its last 16.  Despite poor goaltending from Mike Smith and Dan Ellis, Tampa Bay has managed to get by thanks to its phenomenal special teams and high-octane offense.  It all starts with Steven Stamkos, who became the sixth-youngest player in NHL history to score 100 goals last night.  He trails only Sidney Crosby in goals-scored and points this season.  Tampa Bay has the top-ranked power play in the league thanks in large part to Stamkos, who has 12 goals and 10 assists on the man-advantage this season, and Martin St. Louis, who already has 19 power play assists.  Tampa Bay has also received strong contributions from Teddy Purcell, Steve Downie, and Ryan Malone up front while Vincent Lecavalier is just back from an injury.  Despite being 28th in goals against, the Lightning have been very strong on the penalty kill where it’s seventh overall.  The Lightning is winning even though both Smith and Ellis have been very poor.  There is widespread speculation that the team may look to add the just-returned Evgeni Nabokov to solidify its situation in between the pipes, because Smith and Ellis aren’t getting it done.

The Rangers are coming off one of their best weeks in recent memory.  Though Saturday’s loss was disappointing, the Rangers destroyed the Washington Capitals and then found a way to beat another elite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and another very good team, the Phoenix Coyotes, all in a five day span.  The loss to the Flyers was a let-down, but it may have been good to give the team something to strive for and to keep them working hard.  It will be telling about this team to see if it comes out fresh and hungry after just one loss, or if the Rangers play lazy like they have in years past after winning a few games.

As always the Rangers must stay out of the box against the unstoppable Tampa Bay power play.  If the Rangers play a disciplined game, they’ll be fine as whoever plays goal for Tampa Bay is shaky at best.  But if the Rangers are sloppy defensively or let Stamkos and St. Louis get to work on the power play, they’ll be in for a long night.

Posted by Kevin Baumer | December 21, 2010 at 08:20 pm

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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