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Preview: Rangers at Lightning

Tampa Bay continues playoff push behind goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy; New York without forward Michael Grabner

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

RANGERS (41-22-2) at LIGHTNING (30-26-8)

7:30 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, SUN, MSG+, NHL.TV

 

Rangers team scope

New York Rangers forward Michael Grabner will miss his third straight game because of a hip injury despite taking part in an optional morning skate. Grabner, whose 26 goals lead the Rangers, intends to skate Tuesday and hopes to play at the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. "It felt worse the next day," Grabner, who was injured in practice last Wednesday, told the Rangers website. "I don't really want to risk it and get more hurt. If I can't really shoot the puck or anything, I don't know what I'm doing out there." Forward Tanner Glass and defenseman Steven Kampfer were recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Sunday and are each expected to be in the lineup. The Rangers hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference but are four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division and 1-3-0 in their past four games. Despite their recent struggles the Rangers are 7-1-0 in their past eight road games and their 22 road wins are the most in the NHL. Center Derek Stepan will play in his 500th NHL game.

 

Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning are 8-2-2 in their past 12 games and have moved within three points of the New York Islanders for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. Their game Monday is the first of three straight at Amalie Arena, where they are 5-1-0 in their past six. "We know the situation we're in," defenseman Victor Hedman said. "We have to win these games at home. We have to find our way in." Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will go for his fourth consecutive win since the Lightning traded Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 26. Forward Nikita Kucherov was named the NHL First Star of the Week after he had nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past four games. 

 

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Pavel Buchnevich -- Mika Zibanejad -- Rick Nash

Jimmy Vesey -- Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller

Tanner Glass -- Oscar Lindberg -- Brandon Pirri

Ryan McDonagh -- Brendan Smith

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Steven Kampfer

Antti Raanta

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: Adam Clendening, Matt Puempel

Injured: Michael Grabner (hip), Dan Girardi (ankle), Jesper Fast (shoulder), Kevin Klein (back)

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Tyler Johnson -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Brayden Point -- Jonathan Drouin

Adam Erne -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Yanni Gourde

Gabriel Dumont -- Cedric Paquette -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Jason Garrison -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: Greg McKegg, Luke Witkowski

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee), Ryan Callahan (hip)

 

Status report

Clendening is a healthy scratch after playing the past six games. He was a minus-3 in a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. "It kinda [stinks]. I'm not gonna say that I'm happy about it," Clendening told the New York Daily News. "I think the stat line, it looks worse than it actually was. You get a bad bounce on the first one and it kind of snowballs from there. The next thing you know you see a dash-3 next to your name. It's a pretty easy target. At the same time I hope it's not a permanent thing, or just a wakeup call. I haven't really been talked to."... Stamkos again practiced but did not take part in line rushes. Cooper said there is no timetable on his return. Stamkos has been out since injuring his knee Nov. 15. … Gourde was recalled from Syracuse of the AHL on Sunday..

 

Who's hot

Kreider scored in a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. … Johnson has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. Hedman has seven points (two goals, five assists) during a five-game point streak. Kucherov has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in the past six games.

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