Tampa Bay Lightning Search For Consistency Against New York Rangers


The Tampa Bay Lightning prepare for the fifth game in their current six-game home stand as they open the doors to the Amalie Arena to host the New York Rangers.

If there is any place the Tampa Bay Lightning has struggled this season, besides the Power Play, it would be consistency. The Lightning will finally find the spark necessary to get the job done, then as quick as it came it magically disappears.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to find that same spark once again as they open the doors to the Amalie Arena for the fifth game in their current six-game home stand as they take on captain Ryan McDonagh and the New York Rangers. This will be the second time these two Eastern Conference rivals will meet this season.

These two teams have plenty of tension between them; especially after the outcome of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals where the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Rangers in seven games to become the Eastern Conference Champions. In their first encounter this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning stole the two points from the Rangers with a short-handed goal from Valtteri Filppula late in the third period.

Unfortunately, if the Tampa Bay Lightning put up the same flat performance they did on Monday night against the Montreal Canadiens, who thanks to their win over Tampa Bay has jumped back into first place in the Atlantic Division, the Bolts are going to be in for one long and arduous game.

On the bright side, there is some good news coming out of the Bolts Nation today. According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman has announced that Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin has been activated off injured reserve and is now close to playing. It will be interesting to see how this shakes things up and where Drouin will fit in on the lineup.

We have seen glimmers of the Tampa Bay Lightning team who defeated the New York Rangers to become the Eastern Conference Champions and move on to battle the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup, but they haven’t found a way to consistently show up throughout the season. If the Tampa Bay Lightning can find a way to capitalize on the Power Play and play a consistent 60 minutes of hockey, they would be unstoppable.

On the other side of the ice, the New York Rangers are currently doing battle with the Washington Capitals for the first place in the Metropolitan Division. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they have quite a bit of ground to make up if they are going to dethrone the Capitals right now.

Much like the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers will most certainly be hungry for a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. On Monday night, the Capitals were handed a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

The New York Rangers have plenty of players on their team the Tampa Bay Lightning need to be mindful of, but there are two particular players that could cause issues for the Bolts. The first of those players is Rangers center Derick Brassard. So far this season, Brassard has scored 13 goals and 15 assists for a total of 28 points. Of the 13 goals he’s scored, three of those have come on the Power Play.

The other player the Bolts should be particularly mindful of is Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello currently leads the New York Rangers in all manner scoring. The Norway native has scored 15 goals and 15 assists for a total of 30 points. Much like Brassard, four of Zuccarello’s 15 goals have come on the Power Play.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is leading the way for the Bolts. The captain has brought home 16 goals and 12 assists this season for a total of 28 points. This is a place where Jonathan Drouin could have a pretty big impact on the team. Should Drouin be put back on the top line with Stamkos, this very well could be the spark that lights the fire under Stamkos to take things to the next level.

Right behind Stamkos is Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov has brought home 13 goals and 14 assists for a total of 27 points. Despite Tyler Johnson making his way back to the lineup, it may be some time before we have an opportunity to see the Triplets all together on the same line. According to Smith, Yzerman said Palat is a little further off.

The truth of the matter is, the Tampa Bay Lightning still have many of the pieces from the team that made their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. This means they have all the pieces the need in order to get the job done and get back to winning games. All they need to do is put all the distractions swirling around them by the wayside and focus on the task at hand. On Wednesday night, that task will be defeating the New York Rangers.

The puck is scheduled to drop on 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday night at the Amalie Arena. Make sure to stay connected right here to Bolts By The Bay as we bring you all the latest Tampa Bay Lightning, news, updates, commentary, and more.