Outstanding goaltending has been a key behind the New York Rangers' season-high, five-game win streak. Two players can take credit for that.
The Atlantic Division-leading Rangers look to extend their streak Saturday when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second time this season.
The Rangers' win streak came after allowing a season-high for goals in a 7-4 loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 3. They have outscored opponents 16-7 during that run with goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist and Kevin Weekes leading the way.
Lundqvist was superb Thursday in a 5-2 victory at Dallas as he made a career-high 43 saves, including 29 over the first two periods when New York was outshot 30-14. He also faced plenty of high-quality shots with the Stars getting a season-high 11 power-plays.
"That's MVP goaltending, that's Stanley Cup goaltending," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "He was all-everything."
Lundqvist has stopped 105 of 110 shots in winning his last three starts. Weekes, meanwhile, has made the most of his two most recent games, winning both while yielding two goals on 51 shots.
Another factor in New York's strong play has been the contribution of a newly formed second line with Matt Cullen centering Brendan Shanahan and Jarkko Immonen.
That trio has combined for four goals and seven assists in the past two games, providing a second scoring option behind the top unit of Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka and Michael Nylander.
"I want it to work," Renney told the NHL's official web site. "Jarkko, in my mind, is an offensive center who is very responsible defensively. He should be able to manufacture offense. We're hoping through the course of a real good look at this time that we're able to see that.
"Until we've given him more than a two-game look, it's probably best to defer judgment."
New York (18-10-4) has been a very good road team lately, going 4-0-1 in its last five away from Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are second in the Eastern Conference with 11 road wins, three behind Buffalo.
Alexander Steen's second goal of the season - his first in 26 games - with six minutes left lifted Toronto (15-13-5) to a 4-3 road victory Friday over Carolina.
Mats Sundin scored twice for the Maple Leafs, who have won two straight following a season-worst seven-game losing streak.
"We knew that they've struggled a little bit, just like us, and we knew they were going to come out hard, so we wanted to make sure that we matched their work ethic," Sundin said.
Andrew Raycroft earned his second straight win with 29 saves. He allowed one goal on 17 shots over the final two periods in Tuesday's 5-4 come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay.
Toronto's offense has come alive in the last two games, scoring nine goals after it totaled that many during the seven-game skid.
The Rangers have won four straight against the Maple Leafs, including a 5-4 shootout victory at Air Canada Centre on Oct. 21. New York's power play is 9-for-21 in those four games.