Menu
Home

Hockey

Rangers take on Lightning down south

When their careers are over, John Tortorella and Brad Richards may best be remembered for what they accomplished with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

For now, the coach/player duo are trying duplicate that past success with the New York Rangers.

Tortorella and Richards return tonight to St. Pete Times Forum, where they once lifted the Stanley Cup together, looking to lead the Ranges to a fifth straight victory in a matchup with the Lightning.

While it won't mark Tortorella or Richards' first game back in Tampa since winning a championship with the Lightning in 2004, it is the first time the two return as a tandem. Tortorella was the coach of the Lightning when they knocked off the Calgary Flames in seven games to win their first ever title, while Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Tortorella coached the Lightning for six and a half seasons before getting fired on June 3, 2008, while Richards' tenure with the Bolts ended when he was traded to the Dallas Stars on Feb. 26, 2008.

The 53-year-old Tortorella took over the Rangers' head coaching job on February 23, 2009 and was reunited with Richards when the center signed a nine-year contract with the Blueshirts this past summer.

After a slow start, the two are finding success together once again. The Rangers have won 11 of their past 13 games and secured a fourth straight win when they beat the Hurricanes 5-3 on Thursday.

Depth shined for New York in the victory, with 14 different players logging a point and five skaters scoring a goal. Marian Gaborik led the way with a goal and an assist, while Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Sean Avery and Michael Sauer also scored.

Martin Biron gave No. 1 netminder Henrik Lundqvist the night off and made 28 saves for his fourth victory of the season.

"You can't count on two or three guys, or even one line, to carry you every night and have success. You're too easy to shut down," Callahan said. "But here everyone is contributing right through the lineup. Guys are stepping in from Hartford (of the American Hockey League) and getting points, scoring goals. That's what you need to have success in this league, contributions throughout the lineup, and it breeds confidence."

The Lightning didn't have as successful a November as the Rangers, losing four of six and six of their last nine games. They return home off a 4-2 defeat in Detroit on Wednesday.

Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos scored goals in the second period, but the Red Wings scored twice in the final frame. Stamkos has 10 goals in his past 12 games.

"To me, [the Red Wings] are a top-notch, Stanley Cup-contender team and it was 2-2 after two periods on the road," said Lightning head coach Guy Boucher. "So we did pretty, but we killed ourselves with a few turnovers, they made their power play work in the third period and we didn't."

Dwayne Roloson allowed all four goals on 35 shots to take the loss for the Lightning, who swept the four-game season series with the Rangers last year while winning twice past regulation.

Tampa Bay has also won three of the last four at home versus New York.