NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are looking at their game Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) as a measuring-stick game, particularly since they have lost to the Lightning twice in the past 15 days.
The Lightning still are trying to get used to being the team against which others measure themselves. It's a concept coach Jon Cooper called flattering but hard to understand, even though Tampa Bay's record and statistics suggest it should be easy to figure out.
The Lightning are tied with the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders for the most points in the Eastern Conference with 34. They lead the NHL with 15 regulation/overtime wins and are the highest scoring team in the League with 3.50 goals per game. They are third on the power play at 24.4 percent.
"I guess when you're looking at your own team and you're with them every single day you can poke holes in them," Cooper said. "I sit and watch games and I'm like, 'Geez, they look good.' I was watching the Rangers the other night and I was going, 'Holy cow, they have a heck of a hockey team and they keep shutting guys out.' Then you actually go back and say, 'Oh, we actually beat them twice.' You don't really ever think of it that way. I don't think you give your own team enough credit."