The New York Rangers have won two games in a row, but they will mean nothing unless they give a full 60-minute effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The four points gained against the Philadelphia Flyers are important, but picking up points against the Broad Street Bullies has been like taking candy from a baby.
The Rangers need to prove they can beat quality teams, and a loss against the Lightning would set the Rangers back a bit.
The current Atlantic Division leaders (who feature former Rangers captain Ryan Callahan) have bested the Broadway Blueshirts in both meetings this season.
Monday's matchup is certainly going to be an interesting one, and here is some information you should know before the puck drops at 7:00 p.m.
In addition to these stats, here are some potential lines for both squads.
New York Rangers
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa last played Saturday against the Ottawa Senators, and a three-goal third period propelled the Lightning to victory. Getting off to a good start Monday night should be a top priority for Tampa Bay because it has a busy schedule ahead of it.
Tampa Bay will head to Buffalo following Monday night's game to play the red-hot Sabres on Tuesday, and it will head back to Tampa for a rematch with Buffalo on Thursday.
The Lightning will have a night off, and they finish the week with a matchup Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Four games in six nights will provide a good test for the Lightning, and it is almost guaranteed they will put most of their effort into their toughest matchup of the week.
The Rangers played Saturday in an afternoon matinee, so they should be well-rested. In addition to that, the team's next game isn't until Saturday in Detroit against the Red Wings, so there should be no excuse for a well-rested team not to give it its all in order to earn an important two points against a fierce opponent.
This preview will be updated once lines are finalized after both team's morning skate. Check back for up-to-date information, as well as a postgame analysis after the game's conclusion.