Rangers at Lightning game preview
Game time: 7 p.m. ET, Sunday
TV: Sun Sports Florida
Martin St. Louis is on the brink of matching the longest scoring streak of his career, and a meeting with the New York Rangers may be just what he’s looking for.
St. Louis attempts to score a goal for a fifth straight game, while helping the Tampa Bay Lightning get on track with another victory over the Rangers on Sunday night.
St. Louis leads Tampa Bay (23-11-4) with 17 goals and 38 points, and he’s totaled eight during a six-game point streak. The star right wing has also found the net in each of the past four games, putting him one shy of his career record reached three times, most recently from Jan. 27-Feb. 4, 2010.
The captain extended his streak with a goal Saturday, though the Lightning’s season-high five-game winning stretch ended with a 2-1 shootout loss to Montreal.
"If there is a silver lining, we do get a point out of this," coach Jon Cooper said.
Cooper may also find some solace in having St. Louis face the Rangers (18-19-2). He’s averaged one point in 45 career meetings, getting 28 in 23 home matchups.
St. Louis also has four points over the last two games, and he was pivotal in the latest on Nov. 25. He scored two goals and set up another to power a 5-0 home win over New York.
Valtteri Filppula assisted on both of St. Louis’ tallies in that meeting, but he was held without a point Saturday to snap his season-high five-game point streak. He had there goals and five assists during that stretch.
The Rangers opened this five-game road trip with Friday’s 3-2 loss at Washington, scoring just one goal in the first two periods despite a 32-20 advantage in shots.
"We didn’t get the job done," said center Derick Brassard, who had an assist. "We had some scoring chances, and we need to capitalize on them.
"I think we need to forget about the game. It would be nice to start the road trip with a big win. It is what it is. We need to focus on the next few games. We need a good road trip."
New York could also use an improved effort from Henrik Lundqvist, who is likely to be back in net after rookie Cam Talbot lost for the first time in three straight starts Friday. Talbot made 31 saves against the Capitals after stopping 49 of 51 shots his previous two games.
That may be enough for the Rangers to return to Lundqvist, who is 2-4-2 with a 3.41 goals-against average in eight games since signing a seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension on Dec. 4.
Lundqvist, the 2012 Vezina Trophy winner and highest paid goalie in the NHL, has won once in his past five games at Tampa Bay, compiling a 3.63 goals-against average.
He was pulled from last month’s loss after giving up four goals on 22 shots through two periods.
Benoit Pouliot is on a career-high six-game point streak. The journeyman left wing has three goals and three assists over that stretch after finding the net against the Capitals.
He failed to get a point against Tampa Bay in November, his first game against the Lightning after spending last season with them.