W2W4: Looking To Keep The Roll Going, Rangers Host Lightning

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Players To Watch

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Rangers-Derick Brassard: Two hours before Sunday's game against the Flyers, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault praised Derick Brassard's outstanding play on the power play, but added that he wished for more production at even strength from the 26 year-old center. Less than ten minutes into the first period Brassard delivered for his head coach, driling a left circle one-timer past Ray Emery for a 5-on-5 goal which gave New York a 3-0 lead, and afterwards he received praise from Vigneault. Brassard has now scored eight goals on the season, with all but three coming on the power play. In addition Brassard owns a team-low minus-11 plus/minus rating due in large part to his struggles to produce at even strength. However the flip side of the coin is that Brassard, and his linemates Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot, have been absolutely terrific on the power play. Brassard is tied for the team lead with five power play goals, and overall his 25 points are tied for fifth most on the Rangers. He has scored goals in back to back games for the first time this season, and he has 11 points in his last 13 games (3-8-11). In the Rangers last contest against the Lightning Brassard contributed a pair of assists in the Blueshirts 4-3 victory.

 

Lightning-Martin St. Louis: In four games since finding out he was not included on Team Canada's Olympic roster--keep in mind the GM of the Canadian Olympic Team is Steve Yzerman, St. Louis' general manager in Tampa--Martin St. Louis has scored three goals and totaled five points, a small statement if you will for his displeasure at being kept off the Olympic roster. St. Louis has already reached 20 goals for the tenth time in his career--he currently ranks 14th in the NHL in goal-scoring--and his 43 points in 46 games is 17th-most in the National Hockey League, a year after becoming the oldest player in league history to win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer when he notched 60 points in 48 games at the age of 37 in 2013. St. Louis has not only kept the Lightning afloat in Steven Stamkos' injury absence, he has helped the team thrive, and his failure to make Team Canada was rather shocking. St. Louis, who has 12 multiple-point games this season, lit up the Rangers back on November 25th for two goals and three points in a Lightning win, though the Rangers held him in check in the December 29th rematch down in Tampa Bay. Needless to say, the Blueshirts will have to be aware of where he is at all times Tuesday night or else face the prospect of a repeat performance from that late November game.