New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: Five Year Reunion Time
Bolts going for the NHL overtime record
New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME 68
Time: 7:30 PM Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SUN, FS-F
Opponent SBNation Site: Raw Charge. Just kidding, Blue Shirt Banter. Or am I?
Former Rangers — including two former captains — J.T. Miller, Ryan Callahan, Anton Stralman, Dan Girardi, and maybe Ryan McDonagh will face off against a couple former Bolts: Vladislav Namestnikov, and Anthony DeAngelo. Boy, that’s a lot of former players.
The Lightning have played a lot of hockey in the extra frame lately. In fact, if they get their seventh overtime decision tonight, they can tie the league record for most consecutive games going to overtime ever. The 2004 Edmonton Oilers and 2009 Toronto Maple Leafs are the current record holders at seven games in a row.
During their extra-time streak, the Lightning have gone 5-0-1, something they definitely couldn’t do without Brayden Point. In the five games the Lightning have won, Point has three shootout goals (twice he was the only player on either team to score) and a highlight-reel calibre overtime marker. Point has been solely responsible for 80% of the Lightning’s success during this bizarre run.
What. A. Goal.@BraydenPoint19 with the OT winner. pic.twitter.com/p391tufMGa— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 7, 2018
I don’t know what to make of the New York Rangers. Since shedding five of their top players at the Trade Deadline, the Rangers are 3-1-0. Henrik Lundqvist has been heroic in the games they’ve won (and even the game they lost). He stopped 50 of 51 (very high-quality) shots in a win over Calgary. and then in the next game stopped 31 of 33 against the second best team in the West, the Winnipeg Jets. For a team that told its fans that their plan is to tank, Hank clearly has other ideas.
The Rangers remain the most bizarre team in the league statistically. They are Incredibly high risk high reward at both ends of the ice. They put a ton of pressure on the goaltender. And this year, it hasn’t worked. On special teams, they’re more mundane. Their penalty kill hasn’t been great this year but has been terrible lately. That’s an area that Lightning are capable of exploiting.
The Bolts seem to be headed back in the right direction in terms of shot share and expected goal share recently. They still aren’t the team they were early in the season but they’ve improved over their performance in February. The goaltending is something to watch. Andrei Vasilevskiy admitted to being tired and that is reflected in his performance lately. If that continues, it might behoove the Lightning to give him some rest before the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Yanni Gourde - Brayden Point - J.T. Miller
Cory Conacher - Tyler Johnson - Adam Erne
Chris Kunitz - Anthony Cirelli - Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman
Slater Koekkoek - Jake Dotchin (yay!)
Lines are from the last game so probably vastly wrong.
First Update: Ryan McDonagh is skating this morning in a regular jersey! I REPEAT Ryan McDonagh is skating this morning in a regular jersey!
Ryan McDonagh is on the ice for #Bolts morning skate and wearing a regular jersey. #NYRvsTBL— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) March 8, 2018
Second update: Darn.
Cooper said McDonagh is still on track to return next week, so don’t expect him to make a surprise appearance tonight against his former team. #Bolts #NYRvsTBL— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) March 8, 2018
Coop listened to us!
Looks like both Dotchin and Koekkoek will be in the lineup tonight, and it appears - appears - that Coburn and Sustr are out#TBLightning #GoBolts— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) March 8, 2018
Stay tuned to the preview for any and all updates
New York Rangers
Chris Kreider - David Desharnais - Pavel Buchnevich (oh dear)
Jimmy Vesey - Vladdy Namestnikov - Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Spooner - Kevin Hayes - Jesper Fast
Cody McLeod - Peter Holland - Paul Carey (who?)
Brady Skjei - John Gilmour
Marc Staal - Neal Pionk
Rob O’Gara - Anthony DeAngelo