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Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Rangers Preview and Game Day Thread

Let’s get this hockey thing going!

New York Rangers v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Six Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Rangers: GAME# 1

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Madison Square Garden

Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN, ESPN+, TVAS, SN1

DraftKings Line: Rangers -1.5 O/U 5.5

Opponent SBNation Site: Blue Shirt Banter

Preview:

Wasn’t it just yesterday that these two teams were battling it out in the Eastern Conference Final? That was four months ago? Wow, doesn’t seem like it. Anyway, here we are back in the Most Famous Arena in the World with two teams that hope to once again meet up in the ECF.

These two teams really are mirrors of each other. Both teams made a couple of tweaks to the roster, but are returning most of their star players while sporting a slightly revamped defense. Both have Norris Trophy-worthy defenders and Russian wingers who are perennial contenders for the Hart Memorial Trophy.

Where they are most alike, however, is that their best player is the one between the pipes. Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning and Igor Shesterkin for the Rangers. As the goalie goes, so goes the team. You can debate all day long which one is the better goaltender, but there is no doubt

As for the Lightning, we are likely to see the NHL debut of Cole Koepke on a line with Vlad Namestnikov and Ross Colton. If that trio can put some pucks in the net while playing aggressive defense it will go a long way to helping the Lightning find consistent secondary offense outside of the top line. Koepke and Namestnikov are going to be two players to watch, not only tonight, but all season long.

The defense is going to be a work in progress for the early part of the year. Cal Foote looks like he will start the season paired up with Victor Hedman, and will have to show the coaching staff he deserves to stay there. If he can, that should settle things down a bit. Haydn Fleury is going to get a shot on the third pairing with Ian Cole currently suspended.

The Rangers will be hoping that their top line (now featuring Kappo Kakko!) can drive offense again and that newcomer Vincent Trocheck, who has always been a thorn in the Lightning’s side, can solidify the second line.

Comparison chart:

Comparison

Game # 1 Tampa Bay Lightning New York Rangers
Game # 1 Tampa Bay Lightning New York Rangers
Overall Record 0-0-0 0-0-0
Home Record 0-0-0 0-0-0
Road Record 0-0-0 0-0-0
Goals For 0 0
Goals Against 0 0
xGF% 0% 0%
PP% 0% 0%
PK% 0% 0%
Game One Comparison Chart

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel - Nick Paul - Alex Killorn

Cole Koepke - Vlad Namestnikov - Ross Colton

Patrick Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Cal Foote

Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak

Haydn Fleury - Phillipe Myers

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Lines based on Monday’s practice. If there are any changes, we will post updates

New York Rangers

Forward Lines

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Kappo Kakko

Artemiy Panarin - Vincent Trocheck - Vitali Kravtsov

Alexis Lafreniere - Filip Chytil - Barclay Goodrow

Jimmy Vesey/ Dryden Hunt - Ryan Carpenter - Ryan Reaves

Defense Pairings

Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox

K’Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba

Zac Jones - Braden Schneider

Goalies

Igor Shesterkin

Jaroslav Halak