LIGHTNING (11-14-2) at RANGERS (15-6-3)
TV: SUN (HD), MSG
Tampa Bay 3-7-0; New York 7-3-0
This is the second of four meetings. The Rangers rallied from a one-goal deficit in the third period to beat the Lightning 4-2 on Saturday in Tampa Bay. Derek Stepan
assisted on the tying goal and scored the winner.
The Lightning are in the midst of the worst skid they've had under second-year coach Guy Boucher. They've lost five straight -- all in regulation -- and nine of 12. The Lightning have picked up just six points in their last 12 games and have fallen into 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
Tuesday's game against the Islanders started well enough for the Lightning. Martin St. Louis
scored at 6:55 of the first period to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. But it was quickly downhill from there.
The Islanders score the next three goals in the first period and five straight overall as the Lightning were blown out 5-1. Mathieu Garon
made 29 saves on 34 shots while his teammates only mustered 24 shots on goal.
"We're fine up a goal, we're going good, we scored, (then) they scored and (we) just collapsed," St. Louis said. "Just a beating after that."
They entered Monday's contest winners of five straight and 12 of 14, but the Rangers didn't bring their "A" game against the Maple Leafs.
The Rangers fell into a 3-0 hole and couldn't get out, as the Leafs survived the comeback for the 4-2 victory.
"We weren't moving our feet in the first period," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan
said. "It wasn't a matter of us not being able to handle their speed, but it was a matter of us not being able to do what we do best, which is countering that speed and taking the body. We gave them too much room in the first period."
The Lightning are stumbling, but St. Louis has goals in consecutive games. … The Rangers' Marian Gaborik
has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last four games.
Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina
has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury and is considered day-to-day. Nate Thompson
exited Tuesday's game with the Islanders and did not return. Mattias Ohlund
(knee) has been out all season and reportedly suffered a setback in his recovery recently. … Defenseman Michael Sauer
(concussion) took a huge hit from Dion Phaneuf late in Monday's game and did not practice Wednesday. He's listed as day-to-day and will not play against the Lightning.
St. Louis will play in his 500th consecutive game. As far as active streaks, the 36-year-old trails only Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester, who has played 531 straight games. … The Lightning have allowed fewer than three goals three times in their past 12 games. The Rangers have scored at least three goals in 9 of their past 12 games.
"We've been missing open nets [in our previous losses], but not tonight. Other nights we had plenty of chances and were deserving of a better fate, but tonight it was clear-cut, against an opponent that was fresh. We weren't good at all." -- Boucher, on the loss to the Islanders