The New York Rangers are trying to regroup from a seemingly
Production from an anemic power play would surely go a long way
in helping them get back on track.
The Eastern Conference-leading Rangers will try to show some
improvement with the man advantage when they face the Tampa Bay
Lightning at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
New York (33-13-5) fell 1-0 to New Jersey on Tuesday but seemed
headed for overtime after Artem Anisimov appeared to score with 3.5
seconds left in regulation. The goal was waived off as officials
deemed Marian Gaborik interfered with Devils goaltender Martin
Brodeur and wasn’t pushed by Anton Volchenkov.
While the call may have played a part in the Rangers losing for
the second time in six games (4-1-1), the power play seems to be
more of a concern. The unit, which went 0 for 3 against the Devils,
is 4 for 65 in 24 games while failing to score on 17 power plays
over the past five.
New York’s 13.1 percent conversion rate ranks toward the bottom
of the NHL.
Fortunately for the Rangers, their penalty-killing unit is among
the best in the league at 87.1 percent, but New Jersey scored on
the power play Tuesday.
“Our penalty killing has been washing out our power play, as far
as our struggles,” coach John Tortorella said. “It’s beginning to
show signs, but certainly not good enough.”
Increased production from Brad Richards, third on the team with
16 goals and 34 points, could get the power play going. The star
center has one goal and two assists over the last 12 games, and the
same output over the same span at MSG.
“I’m a little lost offensively, obviously,” Richards said.
“Defensive game is the way they want to play here, and I’m adapting
to that. I’ve gotta free myself up offensively for sure.”
Richards has two goals and six assists in five career meetings
with the Lightning (23-24-5), including one goal and two assists in
two games this season.
Ryan Callahan is also dealing with some offensive issues,
failing to get a point for four games after collecting four in the
previous two. The captain has two points against Tampa Bay this
season, netting a power-play goal in a 3-2 shootout defeat at home
New York has dropped three in a row when hosting the
A victory for the Lightning would mean their longest winning
streak at the Garden since a four-game run bridging the 1995-96 and
They’re hoping another trip to New York can help them
re-establish some modest success on the road in the opener of a
three-game trip. They fell 3-1 at home to Los Angeles on Tuesday
after a 6-0-1 stretch that included back-to-back road wins Jan.
Tampa Bay hasn’t won three in a row as the visitor since March
26-April 3, and its 8-16-3 road record is among the worst in the
That’s partly why the Lightning are 10 points behind Ottawa for
the eighth and final playoff position in the East after reaching
the conference finals last season.
“For us, it’s about what we do and not the teams in front of
us,” coach Guy Boucher told the team’s official website. “It’s not
about the standings. We really don’t care about that, and when we
do that we have a tendency to do very well.”
Steven Stamkos, who scored his league-leading 35th goal Tuesday,
has three goals and three assists during a four-game point streak.
The All-Star center has also found the net four times over the last
six road games, but he has just four goals in 14 meetings with the