After struggling through an inconsistent stretch, the New York Rangers have regrouped behind a pair of successful performances.
To make it three in a row on Wednesday, however, they will have to derail a Los Angeles Kings team that has displayed some resiliency of its own.
Following a three-game winning streak from Nov. 24-28, New York (21-11-2) went on to lose four of six games (2-4-0) in which it was outscored 25-12.
The Rangers, though, bounced back by beating visiting Carolina 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday, then defeated Anaheim 3-1 on Tuesday night in coach Tom Renney's 300th game at the helm.
Captain Chris Drury, Nigel Dawes and Nikolai Zherdev each scored unassisted goals to back an 18-save performance from Henrik Lundqvist for the Atlantic Division-leading Rangers, who improved to 9-5-1 on the road.
"(This) is a great one to build off of going into L.A.," Dawes told the Rangers' official Web site. "We want to go in there and continue to play like we did (Tuesday night) and continue a strong road trip."
New York continues this three-game swing against Los Angeles (13-12-5) before visiting league-leading San Jose on Saturday. Before looking toward a matchup against another of the NHL's elite clubs, the Rangers have a tough task against a Kings team that played well against the Sharks its last time out.
Los Angeles endured a three-game slide (0-2-1) to start the month, but has since collected at least a point in four of five contests (3-1-1). Though the Kings were unable to win a third straight on Monday, they took San Jose to a shootout before falling 3-2.
The Kings outshot the Sharks 28-25, but faltered on all five power-play chances after going 6-for-15 in their previous three games.
"We had opportunities. We had the lead. We had power-play opportunities. We just wish we would have generated a little more on it," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "I think it's a good learning situation anytime you can play against the premiere teams in the league like this."
Los Angeles is sure to have its hands full against another one of the NHL's best squads, but has been fairly successful against New York in recent meetings. The Kings have won four of the last five contests (4-0-1), including a 4-2 victory at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 5 - the teams' first matchup since Oct. 30, 2006.
The Kings will be trying to win three straight in the series for the first time since Oct. 28, 1987-Jan. 19, 1988, but will do so without goaltender Erik Ersberg.
The second-year netminder, 8-5-2 with a 2.38 goals-against average in 18 games, had won back-to-back starts entering Monday's start, but was forced out at 6:54 of the second period because of a groin pull after stopping 10 of 11 shots. He's listed as day-to-day.
Jason LaBarbera, a former Ranger who replaced Ersberg, will likely be in net on Wednesday.
"Obviously you don't like to see anyone get hurt but hopefully he gets back soon because he has been playing well," said LaBarbera, who started the Kings' first 10 games before giving way to Ersberg, told the team's official Web site. "It just means that I get to go out there and get a few chances."
LaBarbera is 5-7-3 with a 2.70 GAA in 17 games this season, and won his only career start against the Rangers in February. Lundqvist, meanwhile, has allowed eight goals on 64 shots in losing both of his appearances versus the Kings.