Even though the inclement weather in the Northeast postponed Saturday’s game in Boston against the Bruins until later in the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning nonetheless braved the elements as the team bussed to Madison Square Garden Saturday afternoon to arrive in New York City early for some extra rest and preparation leading up to tonight’s 7:30 p.m. puck drop against the New York Rangers.
Here are some of the key takeaways leading up to tonight’s game:
Mathieu Garon will get the start in net tonight against the Blueshirts. Garon’smost recent appearance on the season came just over a week ago, on February 2 against the Rangers. Tampa Bay was on the losing side of that contest, but Garon was for the most part solid, making 27 saves in the defeat.
Lightning prospect Alex Killorn is also expected to make his NHL debut tonight and presumably will start on the third line. Killorn has played in 44 games this season with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, recording 16 goals and 38 points to go along with a plus-six rating. His seven power-play goals also were tied for a team-best at the time of his recall. Killorn will wear jersey #17.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Brendan Mikkelson are all out tonight.
Lightning forward Dana Tyrell cleared waivers this morning and will be assigned to Syracuse of the AHL.
According to reports, the move had nothing to do with Tyrell’s play, but instead was a result of a corresponding move coming from Syracuse.
NOTES AND NUMBERS
• Tampa Bay has picked up at least a point in four straight games at Madison Square Garden, holding a record of 3-0-1 during that span.
• The last four meetings between the Bolts and Rangers have been decided by just one goal
• Steven Stamkos has recorded six points (four goals, two assists) over his past three games against the Rangers, and he also notched both goals in the Lightning's 3-2 loss against the Rangers on February 2 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum
• Mathieu Garon has started the past five games for the Lightning when facing off against the Rangers dating back to last season and will get the start tonight
• Ryan Malone is on a three-game point streak against the Rangers (two goals, one assist) dating back to last year.
• Tampa Bay is averaging 4.2 goals per game which ranks first in the league.
• Tampa Bay has notched four or more goals in a game in six of their first 10 games this season
THEY SAID IT
Guy Boucher, on the defensive play of Brian Lee this season:
“The minuses are there, and we’ve talked about it, but a lot of those haven’t been his fault. He wouldn’t be in there if that were the case, but he’s a right-hander, he’s a big guy and he’s been good for us, but he’s still young and he’s going to make mistakes.”
Guy Boucher, on playing on the road:
“There’s an intimidation factor. People pay good money for tickets and the team wants to give their people a show. I feel like we’re better equipped to manage that and that’s why we’ve had some very close games on the road this year.”