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At the Rink blog

Rangers continuing to excel in back-to-back sets

Friday, 12.23.2011 / 1:10 PM

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer / At the Rink blog

NEW YORK -- Brian Boyle was asked Friday morning if the Rangers tried to conserve energy Thursday night against the Islanders with the Philadelphia Flyers on the schedule 24 hours later.

Any chance he wanted to keep a little something extra in the tank for the Eastern Conference showdown at Madison Square Garden?

"There may be a couple guys who are good enough to do that," Boyle said, "but I'm certainly not one of them."

Whatever the Rangers are doing to find success in back-to-backs, it's working with lethal efficiency.

The Rangers are 4-0-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets this season, and are 3-0-1 in the second game. Since 2009-10, they are 24-8-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, with a 12-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-2 on the road over the span.

Rangers coach John Tortorella has talked about the pride the team takes in winning the second half of back-to-backs because of the punishing training camp the team goes through in September. To hear Boyle talk about this game against the Flyers, Tortorella's mentality sounds as though it's seeping into the brains of his players.

"Each game presents a new opportunity and you don't want to throw any points away," Boyle said. "Two points now are just as important as two points in March. We know it's going to be physical. We know it's just a matter of taking care of what we need to take care of, getting the job done. When it's time to go home, you go home. When it's time to go back to the rink, you go to work again."

If the Rangers win in regulation tonight, they'll take over first place in the Atlantic Division and potentially the Eastern Conference. Boyle said it would be a nice feat heading into the two-day Christmas break, but the team isn't checking the standings daily in the hopes of being on top in December.

"It's a nice thing," Boyle said. "You worked hard and you've done pretty well. But we don't pay too much attention to it. We worry about winning games. To get on top, that's an accomplishment a little bit. It's what we can control now. Being on top, that's big. That's not our ultimate goal. There's still work to be done."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday