Rangers head south for Thursday night matchup vs Tampa

New York Rangers(4-7-2) vs Tampa Bay Lightning(10-2-1) 

The New York Rangers begin their short two-game road trip through the state of Florida tonight when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers come off a thrilling win at home vs Vegas on Tuesday night while the Lightning are coming off an eight-goal effort in a road win against the Florida Panthers Monday night. When these two teams get together it is always a solid, intense battle.

Tampa has been absolutely red hot with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov leading the charge. Stamkos has 24 points in 13 games and Kucherov has 21 points in the 13 contests to date. After Ben Bishop was traded last year, they turned the goaltending reins over to Andrei Vasilevskiy, so far this year Vasilevskiy is 10-1 in 11 starts.

Tampa’s lead in the NHL

NHL: MAR 31 Canadiens at Lightning

Tampa leads the Atlantic Division with 21 points, and they are a  juggernaut of the NHL right now. This will be a hard matchup for the Rangers. The Rangers as previously said are coming off a thrilling win vs Vegas, but they are still a team with problems all over. On the front end in terms of scoring is lead by Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich. Kevin Hayes, Hayes started out on the right foot but has cooled off a bit in the last few games, who has yet to record a point in the last four games.

The biggest problem for New York is consistency, they haven’t been able to put together a full 60–minute effort nor string together wins back to back. Many people believe that the game Tuesday just delayed the inevitable question of Alain Vigneault’s future in New York behind the bench, only time will tell though.

Tonight’s matchup will be a huge sign of how this Ranger team will be for the rest of the season. Can they get their feet under them early and figure things out with a win tonight, or will they lay down and die? We will find out at 7: 30 P.M. (EST). 

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