Familiar Faces: Rangers-Lightning

 

The Rangers and Lightning have never met in the postseason before this series, but these teams aren’t strangers.

The Lightning feature three former Blueshirts, all of whom played on the Rangers at some point last season.

The Rangers feature three former Bolts, two of which won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004. The connections don’t stop there. Check out this list to see the New York-Tampa Bay connections.

MARTIN ST. LOUIS

St. Louis is one of the best players in Lightning history, ranking first in both points and assists and second in goals on the franchise’s all-time leaders lists. Marty played in Tampa Bay from 2000-2014 and helped lead the team to its first and only Stanley Cup in 2004. He also won the Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy, and scored the game-winning goal in double-overtime of Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final to force Game 7. He was dealt last year at the trading deadline to the Blueshirts for a package that included the next guy on this list.

St. Louis is one of the best players in Lightning history, ranking first in both points and assists and second in goals on the franchise’s all-time leaders lists. Marty played in Tampa Bay from 2000-2014 and helped lead the team to its first and only Stanley Cup in 2004. He also won the Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy, and scored the game-winning goal in double-overtime of Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final to force Game 7. He was dealt last year at the trading deadline to the Blueshirts for a package that included the next guy on this list.

RYAN CALLAHAN

The former Blueshirts’ captain played parts of eight seasons for New York (2006-2014), recording 254 points in 450 games. In his first full season in Tampa Bay, Callahan tied a career-high with 54 points playing alongside Steve Stamkos on the team’s top line. He underwent an emergency appendectomy during Tampa’s series against the Canadiens, but returned for Game 1 against the Rangers at The Garden.

DAN BOYLE

The 38-year-old veteran d-man played six seasons with the Lightning from 2001-07, and like St. Louis, hoisted The Cup in 2004. After a six-year stint in San Jose, Boyle signed with New York during the 2013-14 offseason.

BRIAN BOYLE

The imposing Boyle, who stands 6-foot-7, was a steady presence on the fourth line during his five-year tenure in New York. Boyle was a key cog in the Rangers’ playoff run last season before bolting south to Tampa in the summer.

DOMINIC MOORE

Moore was drafted by the Rangers in 2000 and made his NHL debut with the Blueshirts in 2003. After leaving Broadway following the 2005-06 season, he bounced around the league, playing for six different teams in five years before he landed in Tampa Bay for the 2010-11 season. After sitting out the 2012-13 season, he returned to New York and has been a reliable presence ever since.

ANTON STRALMAN

Like Brian Boyle, Stralman is another Blueshirt who signed with Tampa Bay in the 2013-14 offseason. He really emerged in the postseason last year for New York, and inked a 5-year $22.5 million contract with Tampa.

PHIL ESPOSITO

The Hall-of-Famer played six seasons on Broadway and helped lead the Blueshirts to the 1979 Stanley Cup Final. After hanging up his skates, he became the GM of the Rangers, a position he held from 1986-89 (he also coached the team for 45 games during that span). Shortly after, Esposito was a driving force behind bringing hockey to Tampa, and was one of the team’s co-founders when it entered the NHL in 1992. He served as Tampa Bay’s president and general manager until 1998, and is currently the team’s radio color commentator.

PAT VERBEEK

Verbeek played just 88 games with the Rangers, but was extremely productive. He tallied 82 points (41 goals, 41 assists) in 69 games during the 1995-96 campaign, one of the best seasons of his career. Currently, he is the assistant general manager and director of player personnel for the Lightning, working closely with former Detroit teammate Steve Yzerman.