The New York Rangers should feel fairly confident about bouncing back from their first home loss since October.
New York looks to knock off the stumbling Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time in a week as the clubs meet Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers (15-6-3) had won five straight and 12 of 14 before losing 4-2 to Toronto on Monday, but they didn't sound too down afterward. They fell behind 3-0 midway through the second period before nearly coming back to tie the game.
"Some games we're playing great, some games we're playing so-so, but we're still staying in there and having a chance to win the game," defenseman Dan Girardi said.
The defeat ended New York's seven-game home winning streak which dated to a shootout loss to Ottawa on Oct. 29.
"The biggest thing for us is not to let losses build up," forward Ryan Callahan said. "We gotta get right back on the horse here and get another win. ... We have the confidence in this room. We know there's gonna be losses during the year, it's just a matter of rebounding from them."
Bouncing back from the latest loss might be easier considering Tampa Bay (11-14-2) is coming to town. The Lightning fell 4-2 to New York on Saturday in the season series opener and enter the rematch looking to avoid losing six in a row for the first time since Dec. 7-17, 2009.
Plus, Tampa has a league-high 12 road losses, including four straight in regulation while being held to six goals -- three by Martin St. Louis.
"It's tough when you're in a down spiral like this. We're a fragile team," St. Louis said after Tuesday's 5-1 road loss to the New York Islanders.
St. Louis scored for the second straight game, but Vincent Lecavalier went pointless and has no goals with one assist over the past six.
St. Louis and Lecavalier each had a goal in both visits to MSG last season, and the Lightning won all four meetings en route to a tie for the fourth-most points in the Eastern Conference. They're currently 13th.
A big reason for that drop-off is a power-play unit which has scored once in its last 14 opportunities and ranks near the bottom of the East (14.9 percent) after leading the conference last season.
"Our power play is in a drought and that's the big difference in our team this year, the power play is not doing well at all," coach Guy Boucher said.
The Rangers had similar problems before totaling six power-play goals in the past six games, including two apiece by Callahan and Marian Gaborik.
Gaborik scored his fourth goal in six games Monday, and Brad Richards also has been hot for New York with four goals and six assists during a six-game point streak.
Tampa's Steven Stamkos has a point in eight straight but is looking to avoid going four consecutive games without a goal for the first time this season.
He's likely to again face Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 24 shots Saturday at Tampa. Lundqvist has not allowed more than three goals in 11 consecutive starts but is coming off just his second loss in that span, though he did make 26 saves Monday.
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