Let's go to the DVR.
Your Rangers won four of six last April (well, one game was March 30) to close the season, including the final two in Philly. For the Blueshirts to sneak into the playoffs, a similar run will have to start tonight at 7:30 at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Jody Shelley was the first of 15 Rangers on ice for the optional this morning. No Callahan, Avery or Boyle; coach John Tortorella called them day-to-day. The other forwards: Jokinen, Prospal, Parenteau, Dubinsky, Christensen, Locke, Voros, Anisimov, Lisin. D: Gilroy, Rozy, Del Zotto, Eriksson, and goaltender Alex Auld.
Henrik Lundqvist will start, as reported yesterday. Mike Smith in net for Tampa.
"I'm sure everybody looks at the standings, but it doesn't mean a thing if you don't win games," said Tortorella. "We got seven out of our last eight points after a pretty crappy first period on the Island...The door is still open, it's a crazy situation in the East. The way the East has been this year, we have an opportunity. It's trying to be consistent now, in the next 11 days."
"I was able to watch their game against Pittsburgh, (a 2-0 win)" Torts said of the Lightning. " They've got some dynamic offensive people. If they spend a lot of time in our end, they're a pretty dangerous team. If we can spend some time in their end, we have a much better chance of winning. They have a number of good scorers, we have to make them play defense."
Here's the coach:
On Jokinen: "I thought the line connected right away. I know he has really worked hard away from the puck. It's something that was void in his game. He has really concentrated on that and him and Prospal and P.A. has given us a shot in the arm. We're not the most creative team in the league here, and he's come up and made some really good plays at key times. I don't want to take anything away from Jokinen: He's played harder in all areas, now he needs to be consistent at it."
On Steven Stamkos: " Everybody knew what he has as a player. It's come along really quickly. That line of he, Downie and St. Louis is a pretty good line. Gotta be aware of them. If you struggle tonight, they've got some pretty good offensive people who are going to hurt you right away, so we've got to defend first and have our offense come off that."
On Matt Gilroy's defense: "His skating at college, he gets away with it," said Tortorella. " I'm sure he wants to play and this doesn't help his confidence. It's a different animal in New York City. I don't look at this as a bad thing for Matt Gilroy. Part of the process."
On Corey Locke: "It's unfair to make a judgment until we see more of him. I was double-shifting Gabby there (on the Island) and he lost some time. Here's another kid, it''s a tough situation with the injuries we have, where we need to win our games, I just didn't put him in enough spots, he made some good plays defensively, didn't hurt us down low. "
Back with more in a few hours from Locke, Eriksson, Gaborik, others...