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At the Rink blog

Cup heroes return to Tampa with Rangers

Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:33 PM

By Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Cup heroes return to Tampa with Rangers
TAMPA - Should old acquaintances be forgotten?

That’s a good question, and especially appropriate as the Tampa Bay Lightning play host to the New York Rangers on Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, because New York (14-5-3) features three old acquaintances that were here, and were big parts of the Lightning team that won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

Brad Richards, currently leading the Rangers in scoring with 20 points, was the hero of the Tampa Bay playoff run in 2004, and collected a Conn Smythe Trophy as the Playoff MVP; Ruslan Fedotenko scored both Lightning goals in their 2-1 Cup-clinching Game 7 win against Calgary; and John Tortorella, the coach of the Rangers, guided Tampa Bay to 106 points and won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.

But don’t expect fond memories to slow down a Rangers team that is sitting in second place in the Atlantic Division, just three points behind Pittsburgh.

“I don’t want to say that returning to Tampa is just another stop because that would be disrespectful to an organization and place that I worked at for eight years,” Tortorella said, “But I’m not here warm and fuzzy; we’re here to win.”

For the Lightning (11-11-2), returning after a two-game road trip in which they dropped both games, seeing their home ice again, where they have gone 7-3-0, is a welcome reprieve.

In an attempt to increase scoring against a Rangers squad that has allowed the fewest goals in the NHL (49), Lightning coach Guy Boucher scratched fourth-line defensive grinder Adam Hall for the first time this season and added Ryan Shannon to the line-up.

“The plan for today was to go after more offense.” Boucher said. “Adam Hall is playing great defensively; it’s just that we’ve been lacking secondary scoring. Not that Adam can’t score, but he’s not known to be an offensive player. The Rangers are beating everybody and seem unbeatable, and if we don’t score goals, we’re not going to beat these guys.”

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

RANGERS

Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin - Brian Boyle - John Mitchell
Sean Avery - Brandon Dubinsky - Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Michael Sauer
Jeff Woywitka - Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

LIGHTNING

Martin St. Louis - Vincent Lecavalier - Brett Connolly
Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Steve Downie
Tom Pyatt - Dominic Moore - Teddy Purcell
Dana Tyrell - Nate Thompson - Ryan Shannon

Eric Brewer - Victor Hedman
Marc-Andre Bergeron - Matt Gilroy
Brett Clark - Pavel Kubina

Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Garon
Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers