It'll be a benchmark night tonight. A former back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion is going to be walking into the doors of Madison Square Garden as the New York Rangers look to continue to build upon their win over the Colorado Avalanche after the return from the all-star break. Back-to-back wins to wash the underperforming month of January out of the minds of the Blueshirt faithful would be a good start to life after the break.
Tonight, Ranger captain Jacob Trouba will return to the lineup after serving his two game suspension for elbowing Vegas Golden Knights forward Pavel Dorofeyev in the game at MSG before the break. He is likely to slot back into the lineup next to K'Andre Miller as the blueline goes back to its traditional setup. It means Zac Jones will go back upstairs to the pressbox as Braden Schneider drops down to the third pairing with Erik Gustafsson.
As for former players, Barclay Goodrow was a part of the back-to-back championships the Lightning won, and Tyler Motte was twice acquired by the Rangers at the deadline for a playoff run. It'll be a couple of former players trying to show the old squads that they shouldn't have been moved on from as they try to make sure the demons of the past rear their ugly heads in the haunting of the present teams.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Nick Paul - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos - Anthony Cirelli - Brandon Hagel
Michael Eyssimont - Tyler Motte - Conor Sheary
Alex Barre-Boulet - Luke Glendening - Mitchell Chaffee
Victor Hedman - Darren Raddysh
Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak
Emil - Martinsen-Lilleberg - Nick Perbix
New York Rangers
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Blake Wheeler
Artemi Panarin - Vincent Trocheck - Alexis Lafreniere
Will Cuylle - Jonny Brodzinski - Kaapo Kakko
Jimmy Vesey - Barclay Goodrow - Tyler Pitlick
Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox
K'Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba
Erik Gustafsson - Braden Schneider
This is going to be a 7 pm Eastern puck drop from the garden as the Rangers look to make it consecutive wins against former Stanley Cup Champions coming out of the all-star break. With the Carolina Hurricanes falling 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks yesterday, it's a chance for the Rangers to open up the lead at the top of the Metropolitan Division and take a strong lead over their southern rivals moving into the home stretch.