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Lightning vs. Rangers: Projected lines, injuries, storylines

The Bolts look to keep the momentum going as they open November against the Rangers

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The Lightning welcome the New York Rangers to AMALIE Arena for the first time this season. In the only matchup between the two teams in Tampa last season, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves but the Lightning fell 1-0. 

Lines from Wednesday's Practice. Subject to change.

Forwards

Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde

Chris Kunitz - Tyler Johnson - Ryan Callahan

Alex Killorn - Gabriel Dumont - JT Brown

Defense

Victor Hedman - Jake Dotchin

Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Dan Girardi

Andrej Sustr - Slater Koekkoek

Goalies 

Andrei Vasilevskiy or Peter Budaj

THURSDAY'S MATCHUP
The Lightning and the Rangers are playing their first of three meetings this season and first of two at AMALIE Arena...The Bolts were 3-2 winners over the Rangers the last time the two teams met (March 13, 2017), Brayden Point scoring a pair of goals, including the game-winner, for the first two-goal game of his career and Peter Budaj earning his first win as a member of the Lightning after making 26-of-28 stops...Tampa Bay is 7-4-1 in its last 12 regular season matchups vs. the Rangers...The Lightning and the Rangers are playing for the 96th time in the regular season, the Bolts earning a 43-42-5 record with five ties.

THURSDAY'S STORYLINES
The Lightning are off to their best start in franchise history with 10 wins and 21 points through 13 games (previous best: 9 wins and 19 points in 2014-15; also 19 points in 2003-04)...Tampa Bay tops the Eastern Conference and is tied with St. Louis for most points in the NHL...Since Feb. 4, 2017, the Bolts are 30-8-5 and tied with St. Louis for most points (65) in the NHL over that period...The Lightning lead the NHL for goals with 53 (second: TOR - 47)...Steven Stamkos will play in his 600th career game tonight provided he's in the lineup...Steven Stamkos was named the NHL's First Star of the Month for October on Wednesday, and Nikita Kucherov earned Second Star of the Month honors, the first time in franchise history the Lightning had two players earn a League Star of the Month award in the same month.

INJURIES
2017-18 Regular Season Man Games Lost: 7
Current injuries:
Cedric Paquette - Upper body (DAY-TO-DAY) 6 Games

TRANSACTIONS
Oct. 9 -- Assigned F Michael Bournival to AHL Syracuse

THE HUNT FOR BEST OCTOBER
The Lightning completed their most prolific October in team history, collecting 10 wins, 21 points and scoring 53 goals, all franchise highs for any October...The 10 wins are tied for second most in any month in Tampa Bay history (most: 11 wins in Jan. 2003-04)...Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the 53 goals scored by the Bolts in October are the third most for a calendar month, only bested by the 60 goals (16 games) scored in Jan. 2004 and the 54 goals (15 games) scored in Nov. 1992...Steven Stamkos recorded 24 points in October, the most points for any Lightning player in a single month in team history (previous: Nikita Kucherov 12-10--22 in March 2017).

ANDREI THE GIANT
Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 18-of-23 saves Oct. 30 at FLA to pick up his NHL-best 10th victory of 2017- 18...Vasilevskiy won his ninth-consecutive start on Monday to become the first goalie in franchise history to earn wins in nine-straight appearances, eclipsing the mark set by Nikolai Khabibulin from Feb. 23 to March 6, 2004 (8-0-0)...Vasilevskiy can establish a new Lightning record for consecutive wins in decisions with a victory in his next start.

Dating back to Feb. 27, 2017, Vasilevskiy is 22-5-2 over his last 29 starts, pacing all NHL goalies for wins over that period (second: Jake Allen - 18)...Vasilevskiy has won 13 of his last 14 starts dating back to last season...Vasilevskiy leads the NHL for shots against (368) and saves (341)...Vasilevskiy is tied for ninth in the League for save percentage (.927).

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