Rangers center Tyler Pitlick sets before a face off against...

Rangers center Tyler Pitlick sets before a face off against the Lightning in the third period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH – Tyler Pitlick is not under any illusions.

The 32-year-old right wing is cognizant that neither he nor his linemates — Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey — are the fulcrum around which the Rangers revolve.

Their job is to do the grunt work. To defend. To forecheck. To physically and mentally and emotionally wear down opponents.

But that does not mean they cannot contribute offensively. Rather, it is a case of taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

“Going down the stretch if the bottom two lines can produce [like they did in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Tampa Bay] we’ll win a lot of games,” Pitlick  said Thursday after the Rangers’ 35-minute practice at the MSG Training Center. “Obviously our top two lines are going to score a lot of goals but if we can help out more often than [we] have so far, I think it’d be really good.”

One of the key reasons the Rangers beat the Lightning was due to the fact that the fourth line outplayed Tampa’s top line of Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov.

Vesey scored two goals and finished plus-2. Goodrow had two assists and was also plus-2. Pitlick had an assist and was plus-1. By comparison, Point was minus-1 with two penalty minutes. Despite recording an assist on the Lightning’s lone goal, Kucherov finished minus-1. Stamkos was minus-1.

None of which went unnoticed by coach Peter Laviolette.

“It’s so important to get contributions throughout your lineup,” Laviolette said. “Vesey had a big goal. [That] line did a pretty good job last night. They scored a big goal. Jonny Brodzinski had a goal and some chances. When you’re contributing like that, you’re getting it from the back end, from all of your lines and you’re not just relying on a player or a defenseman or a power play to be successful. You get more contributions from everybody. I know for sure that our winning percentage goes up when you get more contribution.”

Which is an inarguable point.

Entering Friday night's game in Chicago, Pitlick has one goal and three assists, while Goodrow is 1-6-7. Vesey has 11 goals and five assists. So, no, they are not expected to share the offensive load with the Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck lines.

But if they can play a similar role to the one that Goodrow played on Tampa Bay’s back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2020 and 2021, that would be ideal.

The line of Goodrow, Blake Coleman and Yanni Gourde served a multitude of roles for the Lightning in their championship years. It could defend, penalty kill, forecheck, create energy, and, yes, generate offense.

Goodrow was asked if his current line is comparable to the one he played on with the Lightning.

“Lines are always different,” he said. “It’s tough to compare. We take the responsibility [of] playing against top lines so maybe that’s a similarity you could have. But I think each line forms its own identity and [wants] to be the best version of ourselves.”

Notes & quotes: Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev, who was stretchered off Wednesday at the Garden, underwent successful surgery Thursday in New York to stabilize fractures to both the tibia and fibula in his left leg. There is no timetable yet for his recovery. He was injured when his left leg got caught underneath him while falling to the ice after hard contact with Alexis Lafreniere . . . F Mika Zibanejad has one goal on 33 shots in his last 16 games. He does have 10 assists with a plus-4 rating during that stretch.

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