Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 2/9/12

The New York Rangers remain at the top of the Eastern Conference at the moment, but that lead will soon disappear if the Blueshirts do not regain consistency in their play and begin to win games again. Granted they had a point robbed from them in Tuesday's 1-0 regulation loss to the New Jersey Devils, they still did not play a 60-minute hockey game and were embarrassed for most of the first period. Leading up to the All-Star Weekend and now, in the few games they've played after, the Rangers haven't been the same team they were in November through mid-January. They cannot seem to win more than two consecutive games in a row, which could potentially become a problem if they want to maintain home ice advantage going into the playoffs. 

When facing the Devils at Madison Square Garden this past Tuesday, the Rangers had tied the game with three seconds remaining in regulation but the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference. Of course, as we now know, the fault was actually on Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov, as he pushed Marian Gaborik into goaltender Marty Biron. Obviously that was a very frustrating way for John Tortorella's club to go down, so tonight's meeting with the Lightning is an opportunity to rebound. 

Meanwhile, in Tampa Bay, the Lightning have slowly started to climb back up the standings after sinking to the very bottom earlier in the season. The Bolts are 6-2-3 in their last ten games (as are the Rangers), but are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. They struggled to capitalize on their chances and could not get any offense aside from Steven Stamkos' one goal. 

After that loss, and the fact that the Lightning are still 10 points out of a playoff spot in the East, they will be coming at the Rangers hard this evening. They're playing desperate hockey right now, because they know that they are a playoff team as they proved last season. Normally there isn't much pressure on a team lower in the standings like this, but I know that this Tampa team expects to make the playoffs in April. 

Also, there is some history between these two clubs, as the last time they met we saw Artem Anisimov's rifle celebration cause some fireworks that lasted until the final buzzer. The Lightning went on to win that game, 3-2, in a shootout. 

The Rangers will be keying in on Marty St. Louis tonight, as the speedy winger has 5 goals and 3 assists in his last five games. Needless to say, he is very dangerous alongside Stamkos out there. 

For the Rangers, they will be shaking up the lineup a bit for the first time since before the All-Star break. Steve Eminger will be returning on defense tonight, with Stu Bickel serving as a healthy scratch. I know that Eminger has not played since returning from injury, but in my opinion, Bickel has played very well and has earned his spot on the blue line. I do not feel that he should have to give it up, even for a night, just to allow Eminger to get some playing time. 

In addition to that, the coach is making another surprising move by starting Marty Biron in goal tonight, over Henrik Lundqvist who is coming off an outstanding performance against New Jersey. I expected Hank to finish out the week and Biron to start Sunday against the Capitals, but that apparently will not be the case. I would think that the Rangers would try to guarantee a win tonight with Lundqvist in net. Oh well, I guess we have to hope for the best with Biron. 

New York Rangers Lineup

Anisimov - Stepan - Marian Gaborik

Hagelin - Mitchell - Ryan Callahan

Fedotenko - Richards - Rupp

Dubinsky - Boyle - Prust

 

McDonagh - Girardi

Del Zotto - Stralman

Staal - Eminger

 

Biron

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Schilling to return to 'Sunday Night Baseball'

Report: Cardale Jones rushed to hospital with head pain

WATCH: Cubs' Baez swings so hard he falls down

WATCH: Boston host jokes Goodell should be murdered

WATCH: Mets get inside-the-park HR after OF flips over wall

Eli Manning remains unfazed about poor preseason

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

RG3 thinks 'Concussion' movie will 'make a lot of people mad'

Can Darrius Heyward-Bey replace Martavis Bryant for the first month in Pittsburgh?

Treon Harris to start at QB for Gators’ opening game

Marshawn Lynch campaigning for Seahawks to sign Fred Jackson

Alabama vs. Wisconsin showdown not selling many tickets

Report: Last-minute Deflategate settlement deal very unlikely

Report: Growing discontent between Colts coach, GM

Sam Bradford gets trolled by RG3 in Heisman House ad

Keegan Bradley gets engaged to longtime girlfriend

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Reality has set in for Jerry Jones on Cowboys running backs

Five unique CFB games to watch this weekend

WATCH: MMA fighter puts attempted robbers in leg lock

The Browns are not the laughing stock they’re made out to be

LSU, McNeese State to honor anniversary of hurricanes Katrina, Rita

Wife of Redskins GM apologizes for nasty tweets about reporter

Doc Rivers jokes Paul Pierce will only play garbage-time minutes

Tourists in Boston ask A-Rod to take photo — of them

Deutsche Bank: Spieth, Day, McIlroy make cases for No. 1

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Five unique CFB games to watch this weekend

Be careful what you wish for, Jay Gruden

Ryan taking leap of faith with Bills

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker