The Tampa Bay Lightning kicked off this Thursday morning with their traditional gameday morning skate, which today was held at Madison Square Garden. The storied venue will later on tonight play host to a contest between the Bolts and New York Rangers.
Here are a few notes from the on-ice session leading up to tonight’s game:
LINEUPS, INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
Mathieu Garon will get the start in goal tonight for the Lightning.
Tonight’s game will be Garon’s fourth consecutive appearance, and third start in less than a week dating back to last Saturday at Carolina.
He is 2-5-0 on the season with a .916 save percentage and a 2.63 goals-against average.
Garon has also started each of the past six games for the Lightning when facing the Rangers, dating back to last season.
Sami Salo, revealed to have a lower body injury and who is listed as day-to-day, did not skate on Thursday morning.
With that said, Brendan Mikkelson, who was recalled to Tampa Bay from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, did skate on Thursday morning and is expected to play, as head coach Guy Boucher is opting to go with seven defensemen and 11 forwards tonight.
Adam Hall and Pierre-Cedric Labrie will be scratched.
As reported earlier this week, Ryan Malone is not available for tonight’s game against the Rangers, but Boucher hopes he will join the team at some point on this four-game road trip.
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher provided injury updates on Salo, Malone; Discussed Garon's recent play in net.
For the Rangers, several reports seem to indicate that both Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh will return to the lineup tonight to face the Lightning, however there was no word on whether or not Michael Del Zotto would be available for tonight’s contest.
NOTES AND NUMBERS
-The Lightning will look to snap their two-game losing skid tonight, while the Rangers look to end their four-game losing streak
- With a win, the Lightning could take over sole possession of the Southeast Division lead
- The Lightning have picked up a point in four of their last five games at Madison Square Garden, holding a record of 3-1-1
- Four of the last five meetings between the two teams have been decided by one goal
- The Lightning are the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference with 70 goals, while the Rangers are the lowest scoring team in the East with 44 goals
-Cory Conacher is currently on a six-game point streak, the longest such streak by a rookie so far this season in the NHL
-Steven Stamkos enters tonight's game on a six-game goal scoring streak, the longest by any player in the NHL so far this season, recording seven goals during that stretch
THEY SAID IT
Guy Boucher, on the injuries to both Sami Salo and Ryan Malone:
“They’re both not playing, but they both will soon. Soon. A vague word, eh? Malone will join us on this trip, but he’ll join us at the recommendation of our staff back home who are taking care of him. We already know that he’s progressing very quickly and he’s done a few hard skates, so we’re getting there. He’s a big part of our team so we can’t wait to get him back.”
Guy Boucher, on Brendan Mikkelson and Pierre-Cedric Labrie’s experience in Syracuse:
“It was good. They did very good. Being there and getting that team to win a lot of games in a row and contributing to that atmosphere was very positive.”
Guy Boucher, on the recent play of Mathieu Garon:
“Every game he’s in, he gives us a chance to win. He plays very calm for me and that’s what I see. He gets a lot of those pucks to stay around him and there aren’t a lot of rebounds that the other team can capitalize on.”