Game 23 Preview: Rangers at LightningDecember 3, 2011, by
Standings: Tampa Bay (11-11-2), Rangers (14-5-3)
Leading Scorer: Steven Stamkos (16-10-26)
Goaltender: Mathieu Garon (2.42 GAA, .920 SV%)
Rangers Projected Lines (projected):
Henrik Lundqvist gets the start tonight.
Preview: Tampa Bay, the innovators of the 1-3-1 forecheck are an extremely dangerous team. Up and down the lineup, they can score, and are led by Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Marc-Andre Bergeron, and Vinny Lecavalier. But like most teams, they have a glaring weakness: their goaltending. Dwayne Roloson isn’t performing up to what he did last year, and the starter Mathieu Garon has been better, but not by much.
To beat the 1-3-1, as stated in Suit’s post linked to above, the Rangers will need to play a dump and chase style of game –their specialty. Get the puck deep, get back to it, and cycle the puck around until they can generate scoring chances. That’s how the Lightning get beat. They are also not great defending in their own zone.
The Rangers can use their skill lines to penetrate the zone with short, quick passes to break through. But the Rangers best bet is a dump and chase style. The Blueshirts passing isn’t all that stellar and the Lightning can generate offense off the rush in a hurry.
Many are pointing to this game as a “letdown” game, but it’s tough for a letdown game to occur against a team as talented as the Lightning. They may not be performing so well right now, but they will get their acts together. It will also be important to establish an early lead. This way the Lightning will be forced to open up and abandon their trap.
Crazy Thought: Mitchell uses something other than his face to block a shot.
Opponent’s Blog: Lightning Hockey Blog
Game time tonight is 7pm on MSG and AM1050.