Christmas time in the City; Lightning at Rangers preview

WHERE: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 620 WDAE (radio)

Instead of going off on a Lightning rant above-the-fold like usual, I'll bring up a piece of general NHL news that I find unsettling. Typical, but unsettling. Lou Lamoriello, general manager of the New Jersey Devils, has fired John Maclean as head coach of the Devils, and brought back retired Jacques Lemaire to coach the remainder of the season.

Now, the Devils are horrible at best at current; Ilya Kovalchuk has cemented his place as the biggest waste of money in professional hockey (and near the top of professional sports); Martin Brodeur has proved to be more than human, and generally things are just not well in Newark. I can understand making a coaching change... really, I can...

But two days before Christmas?

Thankfully, today is Festivus. The Airing of Grievances tonight shall be loud in New Jersey, and instead of John, Jacques, Ilya or Martin being the target of the most bile, it will be Lou.

Blueshirt Banter has an odd but accurate take on today's event s(and ongoing hockey related events in the Tri-state area):

Anyway, how's this for a Christmas present: Your New York Rangers, once the laughingstock of the league, and the very poster boys for instability and poor management, are now the prudent and stable franchise in NY hockey.

For more coverage, check out In Lou We Trust. Below the jump we'll get into tonight's matchup.

The Rangers may very well be looking for vengeance in tonight's match-up with the Lightning at Madison Square Garden. Recall last month that the Lightning mostly totally clobbered the Rags in a 5-3 victory. For two periods, they totally manhandled the Rangers and completely dominated the game.

The Rangers are also looking to solidify their place int he Eastern Conference standings. They sit just below the Lightning and the Thrashers in the Conference right now, with 41 points.

For the Lightning, the one positive to take from last night's overtime loss to the Islanders is that there was ground gained in the Southeast Division fight. The Bolts are now tied with the Thrashers in the division and one point behind the Capitals for the division lead.

The Rags are a sound 6-4-0 in their past ten games, touting a 16.9% power play conversion rate... That ranks them 17th in the NHL. They also are stopping 81.4% of opponent power plays this season. Ranking them 16th in the league.

The Bolts are 6-2-2 in their past ten, and their penalty kill unit is tied for sixth in the league standings at 84.6% (tied with the Devils and Florida Panthers). The power play is 3rd in the NHL, behind only Chicago (2nd) and Vancouver (1st).

Other Previews

Tampa Bay Lightning official team preview

Bolts 2 Cup

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