(Sports Network) - The struggling New York Rangers hope getting a few injured
players back can help them avoid a fifth straight loss.
The Blueshirts could have Rick Nash, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh back
in the lineup Thursday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison
Nash has been out for all four games during New York's current 0-3-1 slide
with an undisclosed injury. However, the power forward has been skating with
the team and he figures to be a game-time decision against the Lightning. He
was on a four-game point streak before last playing on Feb. 17 against
Del Zotto has missed the last two games with a lower-body issue and McDonagh
sat out Tuesday's loss to Winnipeg after taking a hard hit from Montreal's Max
Pacioretty on Saturday. Both players skated with the team Wednesday and could
return on Thursday.
The Rangers dropped a 4-3 decision to the visiting Jets on Tuesday, as Evander
Kane and Olli Jokinen each scored a pair of goals for Winnipeg.
Anton Stralman registered a goal and an assist for New York, which also
received goals from Ryan Callahan and Taylor Pyatt. Henrik Lundqvist came up
with 28 saves in the losing effort.
"I think that if we get some people back and we have that type of effort, some
of the things that we do correctly, I think we'll get on our way," Rangers
head coach John Tortorella said of his slumping team. "We can say all the
things we want to say, we just have to try to stay with it. And come to work
tomorrow, see what our health is, keep on going about our business each day."
Tuesday's tilt marked the start of a four-game homestand for New York, which
is 6-4-1 as the host this season.
The Lightning, meanwhile, have lost two straight and are coming off Tuesday's
home setback against Buffalo. Tyler Myers scored the game-winner less than a
minute into the third period to help Sabres post a 2-1 win in Tampa.
Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos extended his goal-streak to six games with his
14th tally of the season, but it wasn't enough, as Mathieu Garon gave up two
goals on 21 shots in Tampa Bay's third loss in four games. Buffalo goaltender
Ryan Miller stopped 30-of-31 shots to continually frustrate the Lightning.
"I have to give credit, their goaltender was just unbelievable today," Tampa
Bay coach Guy Boucher said of Miller. "It's not just that he was lucky, he
Tampa defenseman Sami Salo left Tuesday's loss with a lower-body injury and is
questionable for Thursday's contest.
The Lightning are 3-5-0 as the road club this year and are kicking off a four-
game swing on Thursday.
New York has claimed three of the last four games in this series and posted a
5-1 home win over the Lightning on Feb. 10. Carl Hagelin had two goals and an
assist in that contest and Nash also scored a goal.
The Sports Network