Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers - 12/29/13
New York Rangers (18-19-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (23-11-4)
NHL Hockey: Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm (Tampa Bay Times Forum)
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -126 / New York Rangers +114 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
The New York Rangers found a way to let a game slip away from them on Friday night in Washington. Despite controlling the game for most of the night the Rangers were unable to finish their scoring chances and it really ended up hurting them in this one. Consistently finishing offensively has been a problem for a long time for the Rangers and it's hard for that to get better when you're never bringing in top flight talent. Marian Gaborik was a pure sniper for this club for a few seasons and the hope was the Rick Nash would help take the club to the next leve and be a better all around version of Gaborik. Instead Nash has been plagued with concussions and just doesn't look like the same player out on the ice right now at all. Nash has been invisible most nights and hasn't been the type of presence that you need from your best players. Add in the disaster that has been Henrik Lundqvist this season and it's a miracle that the Rangers record is what it is at this point. After being benched for three straight games the Rangers will turn back to Lundqvist after their 3-2 defeat to the Capitals on Friday. Cam Talbot allowed a poor third period goal that gave the Capitals the lead for good and cost the Rangers at least one point in a game where they should have had two. Carl Hagelin's breakaway goal tied things up at 2-2 in the opening seconds of the third period but the Rangers were unable to jump in front despite really pressuring the Capitals non stop all night long. Now New York will head to Tampa Bay to take on a Lightning club that has been overachieving all year long. The Lightning will be looking to bounce back from a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens that ended their six game winning streak. Martin St. Louis scored his 17th goal of the season to tie the game 1-1 in the second period but the Lightning were unable to score during the shootout as they fell 2-1 in a game that saw a limited number of chances. If the Rangers play their up tempo game on Sunday night there could be some odd man rush opportunities for the Lightning in this one and that's bad news for a New York club that always seems to watch their opponent capitalize on their chances while they can't. This game looks like a toss up but I'll take the home team that has been playing more consistent hockey at a fair price.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports