Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
NEW YORK RANGERS at TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Sunday, Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m. ET
Tampa Bay Times Forum – Tampa, FL
Rangers: 18-19-2 (38 pts)
Lightning: 23-11-3 (49 pts)
The Rangers will face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:00p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), as they continue a five-game road trip. The Blueshirts rank fifth in the Metropolitan Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 18-19-2 (38 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having been defeated by the Washington Capitals, 3-2, on Friday to begin a five-game road trip. The Blueshirts are tied for fifth in the conference in ROW (16). The Lightning has posted a record of 23-11-4 (50 pts) to rank third in the Eastern Conference, and lost a five-game winning streak with a shootout loss to Montreal Saturday. Following the contest, the Rangers will return to action against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, Dec. 31, at BB&T Center (5:00 p.m.)
RANGERS vs. LIGHTNING:
All-Time: 42-30-5-7 overall (24-13-2-4 at home; 18-17-3-3 on the road)
2013-14: Tonight is the second of three meetings this season, and the second and final meeting at Tampa Bay Times Forum. New York is 0-1-0 (0-0-0 at home; 0-1-0 on the road), following a 5-0 loss on Nov. 25 at Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Rangers out-shot the Lightning, 37-25, while their penalty kill was 3-3 (100.0%) in the contest. Henrik Lundqvist (loss) stopped 18 of 22 shots through two periods, while Cam Talbot turned aside two of three shots in the third.
Last Season: New York was 3-0-0 overall (2-0-0 mark at home; 1-0-0 mark on the road). The Rangers out-scored the Lightning, 12-4, in the series, including a 4-1 advantage in the first period and a 5-1 advantage in the third. The Blueshirts also out-shot the Lightning, 104-77, in three games, with a 46-17 shot advantage in the first period. Carl Hagelin led all skaters in scoring with four goals and six points in the series, while Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh each tallied a series-high three assists apiece. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .956 Sv% in two games.
The Rangers have registered a point in 16 of their last 20 games against the Lightning (12-4-4 over the span), dating back to a 2-1 win at Tampa Bay on Oct. 4, 2008, and have won four of their last six meetings.
Seven of the last 11 meetings between the Rangers and Lightning have been decided by one goal, including five that required extra time and two that went into the shootout.
Henrik Lundqvist has started 30 of the Rangers’ last 32 contests against Tampa Bay, posting a record of 16-8-6 with a 2.17 GAA, .922 Sv% and two shutouts over the span.
New York is 10-9-0 on the road; Tampa Bay is 14-3-1 at home.
New York is 7-4-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; Tampa Bay is 5-5-1 vs. Metropolitan Division opponents.
New York lists three former Lightning on its roster: Dominic Moore (2010-11 – 2011-12); Benoit Pouliot (2012-13); Brad Richards (2000-01 – 2007-08).
Tampa Bay lists no former Rangers on its roster.
Lightning forward Tom Pyatt was drafted by the Rangers in 2005 (4th round/107th overall)
INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. LIGHTNING:
Henrik Lundqvist – 30 GP, 16-8-6, 2 SO, 2.17 GAA
Rick Nash – 14 GP, 6-6–12
Brad Richards – 11 GP, 3-9–12
Derek Stepan – 12 GP, 6-5–11
Dan Girardi – 26 GP, 1-7–8
The Rangers’ power play is 11-50 (22.0%) in the last 15 games, including five goals on the man advantage in the last five contests (5-20, 25.0% over the span) … Have tallied two or more power play goals in five games this season
Is tied for third in the league with three goals in 5-on-3 situations… The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 15 of the last 22 games (53-60, 88.3% over the span).
Power Play: The Rangers were 1-3 (4:39) on Friday at Washington. New York is tied for 11th in the NHL overall (25-132, 18.9%), and ranks fourth on the road (14-60, 23.3%). The Rangers are 3-12 (5:58) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/23 vs. TOR), and 0-3 (3:55) when four-on-three (last – 12/20 vs. NYI). Shorthanded goals allowed (5): 10/8 at SJS (Vlasic); 10/24 at PHI (Read); 11/19 vs. BOS (Paille); 12/20 vs. NYI (Clutterbuck, PS); 12/20 vs. NYI (Grabner).
Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts were 3-4 (7:46) and tallied a shorthanded goal on Friday at Washington. New York is tied for sixth in the NHL overall (103-121, 85.1%), and ranks seventh on the road (54-63, 85.7%). The Rangers are 2-4 (3:25) in three-on-five situations (last – 12/20 vs. NYI), and 4-6 (4:29) when three-on-four (last – 12/15 vs. CGY). Shorthanded goals for (2): 10/7 at LAK (McDonagh); 12/27 at WSH (Hagelin).
Four-on-Four: New York yielded one goal in one four-on-four situation (2:00) on Friday at Washington, and are now -2 in 45 four-on-four situations (70:39) this season. Four-on-four goals for (4): 10/16 at WSH (J. Moore); 10/26 at DET (Brassard); 12/12 vs. CBJ (Girardi); 12/18 vs. PIT (Hagelin). Four-on-four goals allowed (6): 10/3 at PHX (Vrbata); 10/7 at LAK (Muzzin); 10/12 at STL (Backes); 12/8 vs. WSH (Grabovski, PS); 12/18 vs. PIT (Sutter); 12/27 at WSH (Fehr).
SHOOTING GALLERY: The Blueshirts have out-shot their opponent in seven of the last eight games (tied on shots in the eighth game), and hold a 270-211 shot advantage over their opponents during the stretch. New York has registered 40 or more shots five times this season, including in each of the last two games, and have posted 30 or more shots in nine of the last 12 games.
RINGMASTERS: The Rangers have won 381-722 faceoffs (52.8%) through 12 games in the month of December, including a season-high, 41 faceoff wins (41-64, 64%), in a 3-1 victory on Dec. 5 at Buffalo. Derek Stepan has won a team-high, 121 faceoffs over the span, while Dominic Moore (72-110, 65.5%), Brad Richards (69-132, 52.3%), Derick Brassard (51-100, 51.0%), and Brian Boyle (50-85, 58.8%) have each won better than 51% of their faceoffs taken during the month.
WESTERN SHOOTOUT: The Rangers have required the shootout in three of their last six games after being the only team in the NHL to not participate in a shootout in their first 33 contests of the season. The Blueshirts’ 4-3 shootout victory against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden ended a stretch of 41 regular season games without a shootout, with their last shootout being on Apr. 10, 2013 vs. Toronto (3-2 SO win). New York tallied four shootout goals in seven rounds in their win against Calgary, tying a franchise record for most goals in a single shootout (3-2 SO win on Nov. 25, 2005 vs. Washington – 15 rounds; 3-2 SO win on Jan. 2, 2007 at New Jersey – eight rounds). Lundqvist is now 46-31 all-time in shootouts, ranking second in the NHL all-time in shootout wins (Ryan Miller, 47 shootout wins).
MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
Derick Brassard – 1 point from 200th NHL career
INJURIES (75 Man-Games Lost):
Marc Staal (IR – concussion on 12/7, out indefinitely) – 9
Ryan Callahan (IR – sprained MCL on 12/10, 4 weeks) – 7
Anton Stralman (injured on 12/27, day-to-day)
Dec. 27 – Recalled Conor Allen from Hartford (AHL)
Dec. 19 – Recalled J.T. Miller from Hartford (AHL), and assigned Arron Asham and Dylan McIlrath to Hartford
Photo by the Associated Press.