Time: 12:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Madison Square Garden
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, MSG+
Opponent SBNation Site: Blueshirt Banter
Not much has really changed since we’ve last previewed these two teams, well maybe the rosters a bit. With players trickling back off from COVID protocols the Lightning have reassigned a few players to Syracuse. Sean Day, Remi Elie, and Hugo Alnefelt were sent back on Saturday. It’s a good sign that the team is getting back to full health, but as of right now the biggest name remains on the sideline - Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Brian Elliott returned on Friday and for most of the night played really well, especially since he hadn’t seen game action in ten days. Take away the two horrendous passes and it’s a pretty solid start for the back-up. Even with those gaffes, he did what coaches expect out of their back-ups, gave the team a chance to win. Is it a long-term strategy for success? No, but hopefully it doesn’t have to be.Even if Vasilevskiy doesn’t return today, he should hopefully be back some time this week.
Despite the shootout loss, there was a lot of good to be gleaned from the game on Friday. The defense was sound, not allowing the Rangers to use their speed to exploite gaps and get behind them. In their own zone they covered their areas and were quick to clear the puck, not allowing New York to establish a forecheck and create chaos.
The trick is to be able to do that on the road and still generate some offense, especially at even strength. Two of the three goals that the Lightning scored were with an extra skater (Steven Stamkos’ power-play goal and Corey Perry’s six-on-five at the end). The good news is that for most of the game, the Lightning controlled the action at 5v5 with a 29-16 edge in unblocked shots and a whopping 10-2 edge in high danger chances.
If they are able to generate those opportunities again today, their chances of winning are pretty darn good. You know, as long as Elliott remembers not to pass the puck directly to the other team.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Mahieu Joseph
Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Ross Colton
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Boris Katchouk - Riley Nash - Gabriel Fortier
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Zach Bogosian/Andrej Sustr
Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh
New York Rangers Lines
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Kaapo Kakko
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Barclay Goodrow
Alexis Lafreniere - Filip Chytil - Julien Gauthier
Dryden Hunt -Greg McKegg - Ryan Reaves
K’Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba
Libor Hajek - Adam Fox
Patrik Nemeth - Nils Lundkvist