The New York Rangers are one of the best teams in hockey. The Tampa Bay Lightning IS the best team in hockey. This is based on points where the Lightning sit at 46 points in 32 games. Their record is 21-7-4. Here is a preview of the Rangers vs the Lightning game.
Where the Rangers Stand
The Rangers are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. Their leading scorer is Chris Kreider, who also leads the team in power-play goals. Artemi Panarin leads the team in points with 35, while Adam Fox leads the team in assists with 26.
Igor Shesterkin is coming off a hard loss Wednesday night to the Florida Panthers. His 13-4-2 record is great, especially with a save percentage of .934. He just came back from a lower-body injury. Shesterkin looked great against the Panthers, but the Panthers made an epic comeback and won. It was a great hockey game that had hockey fans, especially Rangers and Panthers fans, excited to see their teams again.
The Rangers are looking to bounce back from their loss and dominate the Lightning. Their all-time record against the Lightning is 49-41-5-8, which is a .539 points percentage. This definitely could be better, but the Lightning have been great these past few years. It will be a tough match.
How About the Lightning?
Tampa has been at the top of their division since the 2013-2014 season. The only time the Lightning didn’t make the playoffs was in the 2016-2017 season when they finished fifth in their division. Since 2013, the Lightning have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals three times, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games during the 2014-2015 season. The Lightning won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021, defeating the Montreal Canadiens (2020) and then the Dallas Stars the following year.
The Lightning’s best record was 62-16-4 with a points percentage of .780. This occurred during the 2018-2019 season. Surprisingly enough, they got swept in the first round of the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has a ridiculous record of 17-4-3 with a save percentage of .928. The goalie matchup is great between the two teams.
What to Expect?
There is a lot that can happen between the Rangers and the Lightning. The Rangers are coming off a loss, so they will want to bring their “A” game, especially against the greatest team in hockey. This will be a hard feat. Impossible? No, but it won’t be easy.
The Rangers do have the sixth-best power-play in the league, where the Lightning are 21st. Scoring on the power-play is what has kept the Rangers in some games and has allowed them to win some as well. The Lightning, on the other hand, don’t seem to let their sub-par power-play get in the way of wins. It will be interesting to see if power-plays effect the trajectory of the game.
The Lightning will be playing back-to-back games. Their first was against the Panthers, which they lost 9-3. The game between the Rangers and the Lightning is on at 7 p.m. Friday night. It will be one heck of a matchup with two great teams and two outstanding goalies. Will the Rangers prevail, or will lightning strike?
Featured Image Courtesy of nhl.com
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