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Rangers hope to extend road streak against Lightning

by Eric Goodman

RANGERS (12-11-0) at LIGHTNING (14-8-1)


Last 10: New York 6-4-0; Tampa Bay 5-4-1

Season series: This is the first of three games between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers swept the three-game series in 2012-13.

Big story: The Rangers have won six straight road games and a victory at Tampa Bay would extend that streak to the longest in the NHL this season. The Lightning lost all four games on their past road trip, but return to Tampa Bay Times Forum for a three-game homestand Monday, where they will try to stretch their home winning streak to six.

Team Scope:

Rangers: New York has stepped up its penalty kill in November with four power-play goals surrendered over the opposition's past 30 chances. Saturday saw the Rangers playing another disciplined and defensive-minded game in a 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators when they killed off two penalties. Backup goalie Cam Talbot earned his fifth straight win and second consecutive shutout, but gave all the credit to the strong support he received from his defense. Talbot needed 39 total saves in the two straight shutouts.

"I could get used to this, for sure," Talbot said after the game Saturday. "The guys have played unbelievably in front of me the past two games."

Lightning: After getting swept in their four-game road trip last week (0-3-1), the Lightning hope the return home will help turn things around. Tampa Bay gave up 17 goals in those four road losses, but has surrendered seven in its past four home wins. Despite the lack of defense on the road, the Lightning's "Kid Line" of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik managed a plus-1 rating in the past four games.

"They're using their speed. They're figuring out the NHL, and I just think they're only going to get better," Lightning coach Jon Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times.

Who's hot: Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has two goals and two assists in his past five games. ... Talbot has a 1.20 goals-against average during the course of his five-game winning streak; starter Henrik Lundqvist is 1-3-0 in his past four starts and has a 2.00 GAA over that span.

Injury report: Forward Taylor Pyatt (concussion) hasn't played for the Rangers since he was hurt Nov. 7 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pyatt met the team in Tampa and is skating, but his return is unknown. ... Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas (upper body) and forward Ryan Malone (lower body) will not play. In addition to Steven Stamkos (broken right tibia), forward Tom Pyatt (collarbone) and defenseman Brian Lee (knee) are out indefinitely, and defenseman Mattias Ohlund (knee) is on injured reserve. Defenseman Keith Aulie (upper body) hasn't played since Nov. 11 but participated in a full-contact practice Sunday.

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