GAME: New York Rangers (15-13-5-3) at St. Louis Blues (21-9-4-1).
TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.
The New York Rangers are happy with the way they finished December.
They'll look to start January with a season-high, third straight victory
when they continue a four-game trip against the slumping St. Louis Blues.
It has been difficult for the Rangers this season to string wins together,
but beginning a road trip with back-to-back overtime victories has moved them
two games above .500 for the first time in a month.
New York, which hasn't won three straight since March 17-22, has at least
one point in four straight (3-0-0-1).
Defenseman Tom Poti scored the game-winner for the second straight night,
this time 39 seconds into overtime in a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles on
Tuesday. Poti scored 60 seconds into overtime Monday in a 3-2 win at Phoenix.
Of Poti's 45 career goals, 14 have been game-winners, including four of his
six goals this season.
"That was definitely a first for me -- two in a row," Poti said. "Greg (de
Vries) said he had done it before, and he told me to go out and do it again. I
was just lucky out there. We're trying to establish ourselves by winning all
four games on this trip, so this is a good start."
Neither of Poti's goals would have been possible if Rangers captain Mark
Messier hadn't scored early in the third period Monday, and again at 8:47 of
the third period Tuesday. Messier, who turns 43 on Jan. 18, has three goals and
three assists in his last six games.
Until those two victories, the Rangers had not won a game this season in
which they trailed after two periods.
"It's not the kind of position we wanted to be in going into the third
period, but we found a way to manufacture two wins in the last two games
instead of coming out with nothing," Messier said.
The Blues would like to erase the memory of their last game -- a 7-2 loss to
visiting Philadelphia on Tuesday.
St. Louis entered Tuesday with the NHL's best penalty killing at home, but
gave up five power-play goals on six chances while playing without starting
goaltender Chris Osgood.
"Their power play just was clicking," Blues center Doug Weight said.
"They really just took it to us on special teams. No excuses. We just couldn't
get back into it after that third goal."
The loss left the Blues with one win in their last six games (1-3-2).
Osgood, scratched Tuesday with a bruised right knee, hopes to return
"I'll practice Wednesday and probably be ready to play against the
Rangers," Osgood said.
While Osgood is likely to return Thursday, forward Pavol Demitra will be out
at least a week after being diagnosed with conscussion-like symptoms. Demitra,
tied for second on the team with 33 points, injured his neck Friday against