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At the Rink blog

Backups to face off in Tampa Bay

Saturday, 02.02.2013 / 1:57 PM

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Backups to face off in Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. -- It's likely to be a battle of backup goaltenders when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

Rangers coach John Tortorella has tapped Martin Biron to make his first start of the season, while Lightning coach Guy Boucher is expected to let Mathieu Garon start the second half of the team's back-to-back weekend set.

This will be Biron's first start of the season in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who started the team's first seven games.

“We have a philosophy about playing goaltenders and we’ll stick to it,” Tortorella said. “We felt really comfortable how we used our goalies last year and we didn’t stray from that. We’ll do the same this year. We have two good ones.”

The Lightning lead the NHL in goals scored with 37. That total easily exceeds the combined efforts of the Nashville Predators and the Los Angeles Kings, who have scored 12 goals each.

After scoring three power-play goals Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets, the Lightning have  scored 11 times out of 26 extra-man opportunities on home ice, good for a 42.3-percent success rate.

That display of scoring prowess now has Tampa Bay looking to earn its sixth straight win and wrap up a five-game homestand with a perfect 5-0-0 record.

“It’s the best power play we’ve seen this year,” Tortorella said. “They’ve got some good people. We need to be a disciplined team. You need to respect them.”

The Lightning did not hold a morning skate Saturday after routing the Jets 8-3 on Friday night.

In keeping with the season-long celebration of the Lightning’s 20th anniversary season, former player Brad Richards and former coach Tortorella, who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, will be honored during the game.

But Tortorella was in no mood to honor, or be honored, Saturday morning. Asked about a former player, Tortorella was quick to snap.

“I don’t want to talk about them,” he said. “Not at all.”

Here are the lineups each team is expected to use Saturday night.

LIGHTNING

Ryan MaloneSteven StamkosMartin St. Louis

Cory ConacherVincent LecavalierTeddy Purcell

Adam HallNate ThompsonB.J. Crombeen

Tom PyattBenoit PouliotDana Tyrell

Eric BrewerMatthew Carle

Victor HedmanSami Salo

Brian LeeKeith Aulie

Mathieu Garon

Anders Lindback

Scratches: Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Marc-Andre Bergeron

Injured: Brendan Mikkelson

NEW YORK RANGERS

Brad RichardsRick NashMarian Gaborik

Carl HagelinDerek StepanTaylor Pyatt

Mike RuppBrian BoyleBenn Ferriero

Arron AshamJeff HalpernStu Bickel

Marc StaalMichael Del Zotto

Dan GirardiRyan McDonagh

Anton StralmanMatt Gilroy

Martin Biron

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: Steve Eminger

Injured: Ryan Callahan

Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis