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.
, 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:
- Derek Stepan
- Marian Gaborik
- Brad Richards
- Ryan Callahan
- Brian Boyle
- John Mitchell
- Brandon Dubinsky
- Brandon Prust
- Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto
- Michael Sauer
- Steve Eminger
Martin St. Louis
- Vincent Lecavalier
- Brett Connolly
- Steven Stamkos
- Steve Downie
- Dominic Moore
- Teddy Purcell
- Nate Thompson
- Ryan Shannon
- Victor Hedman
- Matt Gilroy
- Pavel Kubina