Rangers-Conor Allen: With Anton Stralman likely not able to play Sunday due to an unspecified injury, and Marc Staal not yet ready to return to the lineup following a concussion, the 23 year-old Allen is expected to make his NHL debut against the Lightning on the Rangers blueline. Allen intrigued the coaching staff with a very strong first training camp and pre-season, playing a solid two-way game fetauring quick, smart decisions in his own end, a willingness to play physically, and an above-average offensive game. In 29 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack the former UMass-Amherst standout recorded 13 points, scoring five goals, and totaled 34 penalty minutes. He had seven points in his last seven games, including a two-point effort against Bridgeport on Thursday night. He has the size, speed, and muscle to seemingly be able to transition well into the NHL. If first impressions mean a lot, then Sunday will be quite the important night for Conor Allen, who likely will be paired with Justin Falk.
Lightning-Teddy Purcell: It has been a somewhat disappointing year so far for the 28 year-old Purcell, who has failed to pick his game up during the absence of the injured Steven Stamkos. Purcell has managed only eight goals and 19 points to date following three straight impressive offensive campaigns. The former University of Maine standout had his breakout season in 2010-11 when he scored 17 goals and finished with 51 points in the regular season before ringing up 17 points in 18 post-season contests. In 2011-12 Purcell scored a career-high 24 goals and recorded a career-best 65 points; and followed that up with 36 points in the 48-game lockout-shortened season a year ago. Purcell does have two points in his last four games, and he did have the best game of his season against the Rangers back on November 25th when he scored twice and finished with three points, so perhaps another big night is in order. The most intriguing stat on Purcell's ledger this season might just be his penalty minutes total, which stands at two---just a single two-minute minor all season long.