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

Lafreniere healthy scratched by Rangers

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11: Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers tends the net against Alex Killorn #17 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on October 11, 2022 in New York City.
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME#34
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, MSG2
Opponent SBNation Site: Blueshirt Banter

Preview:

The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the second half of a back-to-back against a good road team so far this season, but tonight is far from a scheduled loss. The Lightning didn’t need to push very hard for most of their game against the Canadiens last night, plus they’re coming off a nice break without any travel. Meanwhile the Rangers are in a bit of a downswing when it comes to their on-ice play despite an uptick in the team’s shooting luck.

The New York Rangers, the opponents tonight, have a better road record this season than at home — this is likely the main reason they’re not a divisional contender this year. Or perhaps it’s that they’ve played at home against divisional rivals and have lost most of those games — the Rangers are 2-5-0 at home against the Metro.

Regardless if the dog is wagging her tail or the tail is wagging the dog, the Rangers are not in a good place this year. And poor results appear to be seeping into the team’s play itself. Over the course of the past month the Rangers expected goals rate has gone from ~55% down to ~45%.

Further to the pattern of results not meeting expectations, the Rangers are first in shots for and second in expected goals on the power play this season, but their goals for rate is 16th in the league (22 goals on 30 expected). Put all that together — poor goaltending against the division and a slumping power play — and the Rangers are a bubble playoff team this year when they contended for the Metro Division last year.

And now the team is getting desperate with lineup changes, first with the healthy scratching of budding star Alex Lafreniere who has been dropped off the fourth line. He has had good results with Panarin, but so has a lot of supposed stars who stopped being that as soon as they left.

As for the Bolts, they didn’t skate today after playing the night before so we’re assuming Brian Elliott will get the start and that’ll be it for lineup changes until we know more at warmups.

In terms of former Bolts, the Lightning welcome back Barclay Goodrow to town. Goodrow has a big contract that he was never going to meet so he’s become a place of angst from fans. Namely playing him next to Panarin instead of Lafreniere. Libor Hajek was drafted by the Lightning in 2016 before being traded to New York is a scratch tonight.

Comparison chart:

New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning

Game #34 Tampa Bay Lightning New York Rangers
Game #34 Tampa Bay Lightning New York Rangers
Overall Record 21-11-1 19-12-5
Last 10 Games 7-3-0 8-2-0
Home Record 13-4-1 8-7-4
Road Record 8-7-0 11-5-1
Goals For 119 115
Goals Against 98 99
xGF 113.26 117.71
xGA 103.9 103.4
PP% 26.3% 21.9%
PK% 80.8% 80.2%

Update:

Tampa Bay Lightning Lines

Forwards

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos - Nick Paul - Ross Colton
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Pat Maroon
Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defenders

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Brian Elliott - projected starter

New York Rangers Lines

Forwards

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Kaapo Kakko
Artemi Panarin - Vincent Trocheck - Barclay Goodrow
Vitali Kravtsov - Filip Chytil - Julien Gauthier
Samuel Blais - Jonny Brodzinski - Jimmy Vesey

Defenders

Jesper Lindgren - Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba
Ben Harpur - Braden Schneider

Goalies

Igor Shesterkin - projected starter
Jaroslav Halak