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Preview: Rangers Host Lightning in Final Home Game of the Season

Steven McDonald Award to be Presented Pregame

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Rangers (33-35-9, 75 pts) vs. Lightning (51-22-4, 106 pts)
7 pm; Madison Square Garden
MSG Network; ESPN 98.7 FM

The Game

The Rangers close out the home portion of the 2017-18 season with a matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning that's preceded by the 30th annual Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award.

The Blueshirts come into tonight's game off a 3-2 overtime defeat Wednesday night in Washington against the Capitals, a game they led 2-1 late in regulation. Kevin Hayes and Ryan Spooner each scored in the game, with rookie Lias Andersson recording his first assist on Spooner's tally.

Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves in the loss to Washington. He is expected to get the start tonight.

The two teams have split the two games in the season series, both of which were played in Tampa, including a 5-3 Lightning win on March 8. 

The Lightning are coming off a 4-2 loss last night in Boston - the team's third straight - that bumped them out of the top spot in the Atlantic Division, which they've been in since Oct. 19.

Hart Trophy contender Nikita Kucherov leads the team with 96 points, followed by Steven Stamkos' 86. 

Tampa, of course, has several former Rangers, including Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller and Dan Girardi. Miller, especially, has found a level of comfort with his new team with 14 points in 14 games. 

Andrei Vasilevskiy made the start against the Bruins, leaving open the possibility backup Louis Domingue could get the start against the Rangers.

Players to Watch

Spooner has recorded a point in five of his last seven games against Tampa Bay, and he has tallied seven points (two goals, five assists) in those seven contests. He has registered four points (one goal, three assists) in two games against the Lightning in 2017-18.

As stated, Miller is having great success with the Lightning since the deal at the trade deadline in February. The winger has eight goals in 14 games after posing 13 in 63 this season in New York.

Inside the Numbers

The Rangers have won five of their last seven games against Tampa Bay, dating back to Dec. 30, 2015 (5-2-0 record over the span). The Blueshirts have outscored the Lightning, 22-14, in the seven contests.

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