New York Rangers Lightning faces off with the Capitals nibbling at their heels

November 14, 2019; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat (18) skates with New York Rangers center puck Chris Kreider (20) and New York Rangers defender Adam Fox (23) to score during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will be looking to continue their path with a win against the defending Stanley Cup title on Saturday night in Tampa.

New York are tied 2-0-0 against Lightning this season, winning a set at home against the champions over three days on New Year’s Day. They will need to find a way to collect points this weekend, as they also face the challenging task of facing the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

Gerard Gallant’s charges are in danger of falling to fame with the Washington Capitals nibbling at their heels. The Caps have won four times in a row and are now only one point behind the Blues to finish third in the metro division.

Frank Vatrano is ready to help his new team

In his first appearance on Thursday – a 2-1 loss against Islanders – new goalkeeper Frank Vatrano scored one shot on target while clocking 14:47 of ice time.

New York acquired him from the Florida Panthers for the 2022 fourth-round pick on Wednesday, just days before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

New York Rangers
17 March 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Frank Vatrano (77) takes the ice for the first time as a guard after his trade from the Florida Panthers before a game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

“Florida was my home, but to be a dealer like the Rangers is an absolute pleasure,” said the East Long Meadow, Massachusetts native. “It was great, especially playing the rivalry match (in) the first match. I thought it was a good effort all around.”

Skating on the right wing with Artemi Banarin and Ryan Strom Thursday night, Vatrano provided a spark and directed an entry penalty on Scott Mayfield. Chris Kreider quickly scored in the man’s advantage – his 40th goal – to equalize 1-1 in the second half.

“It’s a great opportunity to play with world class players like this. I just tried to reach my speeds and get into the dirty areas and create space for them,” Vatrano, who was unprepared after his career at University of Massachusetts Amherst, said.

Scoring 10 goals and 9 assists in 49 games for Florida, the quick Vatrano left the Panthers on a high note on Tuesday in San Jose.

In Florida’s 3-2 win in overtime, he had the last two copies of one-time bad strikes from the holeshot – the equalizer early in the third inning, then the 1:11 game winner in overtime three-for-three.

However, the left wing has found itself in the Florida Kennel.

In his previous 27 matches prior to his heroic matches against the Sharks, he had gone without goals in 18 matches and had not played in nine.

Rangers and NHL trade deadline

The NHL trade deadline is two days away and Chris Drury is still looking for some reinforcements.

Elliot Friedman noted in his latest broadcast that Rangers are still shopping in the rental market. He stated that they still wanted a left-handed defensive man and gave a throw to Alexander Radulov of the Dallas Stars.

Of all I can gather, they would really like a Rickard Rakell at a good price. Another backup option forward is Phil Kessel with the Arizona Coyotes.

Mark Giordano wants to play in Toronto, but if the Rangers put in a better show he probably won’t stand in Seattle’s way of improving himself. If it doesn’t, there’s always Calvin de Haan in Chicago and Colin Miller in Buffalo.

New York Rangers

Lightning played .500 hockey recently

After a somewhat disappointing six-game run away from the West, the Tampa Bay Lightning returns home for a brief one-game layover Saturday night against the New York Rangers.

Lightning felt they were going to get more of their long road swing, which started in Chicago and ended Wednesday night in Seattle. The club scored a 3-3-0 mark on its journey across Canada and the United States

The trip opened with a win and ended with two wins, but organizational defeats in Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton left a bad taste for second-placed Lightning, who entered tonight’s game trailing the Florida Panthers who top the Atlantic Division by six points.

Stephen Stamkos celebrated his 900th game – all with Tampa Bay – by scoring three assists as the Lightning broke the 1-1 tie and beat the Kraken expansion 4-1 to wrap up the trip.

Trade noise in the New York Rangers

NHL rumors

Hampus Lindholm will likely move in after contract talks collapse. Plus, is Claude Giroud headed to Florida? Read more here.

– Field Level Media contributed to this report

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