Sunday, February 10, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Lightning
By Matt Ehalt
AT A GLANCE: The Rangers will look to go above .500 for the first time this season when they host the Lightning at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are coming off a 4-1 win against the Islanders, and beat the Lightning in their previous matchup on Feb. 2 in Tampa Bay. While it's still early in the year, the Rangers are seven points behind the Devils and six behind Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division. They can't fall too far behind in the shortened season.
GIRARDI RETURNS: Defenseman Dan Girardi will make his return Sunday, according to the team's Twitter account, after missing the previous two games with what the team described as being "banged up." Girardi is a rugged defender who rarely misses games, and it forces coach John Tortorella to tinker with his defense when he's out. The Rangers went 1-1 in the games he's missed, the first he's sat out since the 2010-11 season.
ROOKIE FLOW: J.T. Miller had quite the Garden debut when he notched a pair of goals in Thursday's win against the Islanders. The 19-year-old has three more games to prove the Rangers that he belongs, or the team could send him back to the minors, but he's certainly on the right track. His two goals have him tied for third on the team despite only having two games under his belt.
BOYLE BACK?: Forward Brian Boyle was a healthy scratch in Thursday's game after his slow start to the season as he has just one assist and a -3 rating on the year. Tortorella said he wanted Boyle to be miserable and he never wants to have to make that type of decision again. The Rangers need Boyle to get going as he's an important part of their third line.
BUILD A STREAK: Through the Rangers' first 10 games, their longest winning streak is two games. In a normal season, this might not be an issue, but in a shortened season teams need to be find consistency early on. The Rangers were picked to be a top team in the East and they haven't played like it yet.