After hearing that their Saturday evening battle with the Boston Bruins had been postponed because of a blizzard, the Tampa Bay Lightning headed off to the Big Apple to face the New York Rangers Sunday night.
Mired in the three-game slump, the Bolts will need to focus on storming into Madison Square Garden intent on reviving an offense that started the shortened NHL season red-hot but has since gone ice cold.
Anders Lindback has been solid in net for the Lightning thus far, but defensive breakdowns and a sputtering offensive attack, particularly the power play unit, have put a damper on the team’s fast start. While missing out on the Northeast Division-leading Bruins may be a blessing in disguise, the Rangers will likely prove to be a much tougher opponent than their mediocre 5-5 record suggests.
New York disposed of the Lightning earlier this month when the two met in Tampa and it’ll be looking for more of the same success Sunday night. The Rangers are 4-2 over their last six after a 1-3 start to the season, and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is starting to look like himself between the pipes.
It’s not the goalie the Lightning prefer to face after dropping three straight and scoring just five goals, but it is the task at hand nonetheless.
Surprisingly, the Bolts still lead the league in goals per game, averaging 4.2 a night. The Rangers, on the other hand, are 20th in the NHL, averaging 2.4 goals per game. They’ve scored two goals or less in five of their 10 games this season as well. If Lindback can come through with another solid effort in net and the defense holds up, Tampa’s plethora of scoring threats should have plenty of opportunities to get the Lightning back in the win column.