Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/5/14

The reason behind Monday's 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs to break a five-game winning streak at the time was quite simple: the Rangers only showed up for half of the game. Well, I guess that isn't necessarily the proper way to put it. What I should say is that it took the Blueshirts 30 minutes to get going against Toronto, therefore leaving them with a shortage of time to get the game tied in the third period. Any analysis beyond that point is unnecessary, like blaming the coach for example, because you simply don't overdo it when picking apart only the club's third loss in 15 games. 

That one loss was far from the end of the world, partly because the solution is not too difficult of a concept to comprehend, and also because the Rangers, at 15-6-3, are only three points behind the first place Pittsburgh Penguins with four games in hand at the moment. The Penguins also lost on Monday, 3-1 to the Boston Bruins, so no ground was lost, nor was any gained. 

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, continues to struggle as they are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Islanders on Tuesday. The Lightning are a familiar opponent for the Rangers, as the two squared off on Saturday in a game that the Blueshirts took, 4-2. Like Monday, it took New York some time to get rolling in that tilt, but once they did (late in the game) the ice was clearly tilted in their favor. Long story short, the Rangers are due for a 60-minute effort tonight, which would put them in excellent position for their sixteenth victory of the season. 

We'll be seeing a slight change in the Rangers' lineup tonight, as defenseman Michael Sauer is currently unable to play for an unspecified amount of time due to a concussion suffered in Monday's game against Toronto. Sauer was caught with a high hit to the head by Dion Phaneuf, left in the third period and would not return. As of yesterday head coach John Tortorella did not have any details on the severity of the concussion, or at least he didn't reveal any to the media. 

In his place will be Anton Stralman, who was signed by the Rangers last month but only played in one game since then. It looks as if Stralman will be partnered with Jeff Woywitka on the last pairing for tonight's game, and Steve Eminger will move up to play alongside Michael Del Zotto. Many thought that Tortorella would split up Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi with Sauer going down, but to start, he is keeping New York's dynamic first pairing together. 

Defense played a big part in Saturday's win over the Lightning, and the same will have to hold true for tonight if the Rangers want two points out of this game. McDonagh and Girardi did a tremendous job of keeping the Steve Stamkos line to the outside and only allowing shots from the perimeter of the rink. This was not the case against the Kessel line when they played Toronto, but that Kessel line is understandably an entire different beast. 

While defense will be important, where the Rangers will disrupt the Bolts the most is on offense. The Rangers' explosive forwards can easily outmatch the defense of Tampa Bay, and we saw that late in the third period on Saturday when the Blueshirts tied and won the game. Now if the Rangers can get their deadly forecheck going from the start, this won't be such a nail-biter like the past few wins have been. For once, they'll make it easy on us spectators. 

Henrik Lundqvist will be in goal for New York. Also, Marty St. Louis will most likey not be in the lineup for the Bolts tonight after taking a puck to the face during practice this morning.

New York Rangers Lineup

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Pilar Sanders posts audio of children saying Deion is abusive

Kobe Bryant dishes on trash talk with Dwight Howard

Raiders owner Mark Davis: 'We want to stay here in Oakland'

Terrance Knighton: Broncos fans are ‘high-maintenance'

Ex-NFL player delivers own baby on North Carolina farm

USC players not happy about Josh Shaw reinstatement

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

FSU student: Books stopped bullets from hitting me

Jets-Bills game could be moved to Detroit, Toronto, New Jersey

Michael Vick wants to play at least two more years

NHL's Jack Johnson is bankrupt, parents mostly responsible

Michael Phelps' self-proclaimed girlfriend was born a man

Report: LeGarrette Blount 'expected to sign' with Patriots

Raiders fans take out ad calling for Hue Jackson return

Eagles broadcaster has Cowboys turkey for Thanksgiving

Nick Young on his swag: 'I’m like Michael Jackson, Prince'

Le'Veon Bell adds Steelers o-line to award candidacy picture

Ranking the NBA's most exciting rookies

Steve Smith drops fantastic line about playing in prime-time

Five NFL teams we still have no clue about

Ten NFL coaches who would be fired if season ended today

ESPNU reporter makes tasteless 'joke' about FSU shooting

WATCH: Jason Kidd returns to chorus of boos in Brooklyn

James Harden wears ridiculous shirt; Twitter reacts

Top storyline for each Week 12 NFL game

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Phelps' alleged GF born a man?

Bears considered benching Cutler?

Can Cardinals win a Super Bowl with Drew Stanton?

Steeler: Blount's release a blessing

WATCH: Carter moved by tribute

Giancarlo Stanton and the cost of becoming a boss

Report: Sandoval headed to Red Sox

VIDEO: HBO's 'Under The Lights' is a must watch

Brady: Belichick not as he seems

The NFL Chick gloriously interviews for the Gators head coach job

NBA's first openly gay player to retire

Vonn shares Tiger's outrage over Golf Digest 'interview'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.