The Rangers begin a five-game home stand against the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning (8:00 P.M. ET, NBC).
The Rangers top line stole the show against the New Jersey Devils, Thursday night. The first line consisting of Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello combined for eight points, and scored all four goals. Zibanejad registered his first career hat trick with the New York Rangers. Kreider scored the Blueshirts third goal and Zuccarello had three assists on the night. The top line has put up 25 points in the past four games.
“They’ve got the makeup of a perfect line,” saidRyan Strome. “They’ve got a scorer and a guy in the middle who can doeverything, they’ve got a speed winger, and on the other side they’ve got aplaymaker that makes little plays all over the ice that people might notappreciate as much but that are so helpful.
Henrik Lundqvist registered 19 saves in a winning effort and is now on a four-game win streak. A win tonight Lundqvist will put on a personal five-game win streak.
Tonight, the Rangers play the Tampa Bay Lighting who are currentlyleading the Presidents trophy race by seven points. The Lightning were shutoutfor the first time Friday night in Long Island, except they still won the game1-0 in a shootout. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 36 shots he saw and hestopped all three Islander shootout takers.
With Vasilevskiy getting a shutout last night, the Rangerswon’t see the Russian netminder as Louis Domingue will likely get the nod. Dominguehas won his last eight outings and 16 games in 20 starts this season. While theRangers won’t likely see the Lightning all-star netminder, they will see formerRanger players Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, J.T. Miller and Anton Stralman (Stralmanwas a healthy scratch last night).
In the previous meeting this season, despite the Rangersplaying them hard five-on-five, they took six penalties against Tampa Bayincluding four penalties in the first period. The Blueshirts would ultimatelylose the game 6-3.
“Against a team like this, you can’t take sixpenalties like we did the last game we played them, said head coach David QuinnWe put ourselves at a huge disadvantage. I don’t care who you’re playing, youput yourself at a huge disadvantage when you take six penalties and you onlyhave one power play. So you can’t have that discrepancy. We’re certainly awareof that.”
“Five-on-five that game, we had a great game, it was just the power plays hurt,” said Strome. “We played them hard in Tampa, we’ve got to do it again.”
Freddy Claesson skated on his own for the second straightday and is getting closer to returning. “Maybe a week to 10 days away,” Quinnsaid.
Smith – Shattenkirk