In a showdown between, arguably, the two best teams in the NHL, the New York Rangers showed they can compete with any team, anywhere.
Marian Gaborik's overtime goal gave the Rangers a 3-2 road victory Saturday against the Boston Bruins in a contest that had a postseason feel to it. Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves in a game that saw the Bruins rally from a pair of one-goal deficits to claim a well-earned point.
"Going into the game it had a little bit extra feeling and, you know, a little bit motivation knowing you're playing a team that's right behind you in the conference, obviously defending Stanley Cup champions, too," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. "So the atmosphere in the room, the atmosphere on the ice was as close as you could get to a playoff feel this early in the season."
The Rangers went 2-1 with a rough schedule last week, losing at home to the Penguins and beating the Predators. The Bruins bounced back with a wild 6-5 shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers the next day.
The top spot in the Super 16 has been reclaimed by the Rangers, but the hard-charging Red Wings and Blues had perfect weeks and will square off Monday night in a Central Division showdown at Joe Louis Arena, where the Wings haven't lost in 16 games.
If you have any problems, questions, anger or praise for this list, you can let me know on Twitter: @davelozo
|RANK ||TEAM (RECORD) ||LAST WEEK ||COMMENTARY |
|1 ||N.Y. Rangers (30-12-4) ||2 ||Brad Richards' assist Saturday ended a six-game point drought, his longest since a six-game stretch without a point in Dec. 2008 while a member of the Dallas Stars. |
|2 ||Detroit (32-15-1) ||4 ||During their six-game winning streak, four wins have come via shootout and one came in overtime. The Wings are a combined 8-1 in overtime/shootouts. |
|3 ||St. Louis (29-12-6) ||3 || |
The Blues had seven power-play goals in their first 24 games. In the subsequent 23 games, they have 16 power-play goals. They still rank 26th at 13.8 percent despite the hot streak.
|4 ||Boston (31-13-2) ||1 ||The Bruins had gone 45 games without allowing at least 5 goals in a game, but have done so twice in their past four games. They still rank third defensively. |
|5 ||Nashville (28-16-4) ||6 ||In the highly competitive Central Division, the Predators sit in fourth place with 60 points, but their 9-2-2 record in the division is the best among those five squads. |
|6 ||Vancouver (29-15-4) |
|7 || |
Rookie Cody Hodgson appears to be getting more comfortable as the season progresses. He's increased his point total each month and has 7 points (3 goals) in 8 January games.
|7 ||Chicago (29-14-6) ||5 || |
The Blackhawks have allowed four goals or more 12 times this year. For a comparison, the defensively stingy Blues have only done it 5 times.
|8 ||Philadelphia (28-14-5) ||9 || |
Does Peter Laviolette deserve some Jack Adams consideration? The Flyers have been besieged by injuries and shaky goalie play this season, yet they haven't missed a beat.
|9 ||Pittsburgh (27-17-4) ||14 ||During the Pens' six-game slide, Marc-Andre Fleury was 0-5-0 with an .889 save percentage. During this six-game win streak, he's 6-0-0 with a .909 save percentage. |
|10 ||Ottawa (27-17-6) ||10 ||Nicklas Lidstrom's 80 points in 2005-06 are the most for a d-man since 1995-96. Fellow Swede Erik Karlsson is on pace for 76 in just his third NHL season. |
|11 ||San Jose (26-14-5) ||8 ||The Sharks leads the Pacific Division with 57 points. Their record against the top-four teams in each conference (division leaders and No. 4 seeds) is 3-6-1. |
|12 ||Los Angeles (23-16-10) ||13 ||Jonathan Quick has a GAA of 1.95, yet in 41 starts, he has just 20 wins and 21 regulation/OT/shootout losses. |
|13 ||New Jersey (26-19-2) ||12 || |
After their 4-1 loss to the Flyers on Saturday, the Devils are 4-5-0 in the tough Atlantic Division. They have one game with Buffalo before the All-Star break.
|14 ||Washington (25-19-3) ||11 ||What a weird week. The Caps lose 3-0 twice to the Isles and 'Canes, win 3-0 vs. Montreal, then lose a great game in OT vs. Pittsburgh. They still look close to breaking out. |
|15 ||Florida (22-15-10) ||16 || |
Getting two points in Winnipeg was huge for the Panthers. Getting the OT point has been huge. Their 10 OT/SO losses are tied for most in the NHL with the Kings.
|16 ||Anaheim (18-22-7) ||NR ||What? Seriously? Yes, seriously. The Ducks are 8-0-1 in their last nine games and now 11 points out of the eighth spot in the West. They're the hottest team in the NHL. |
Author: Dave Lozo | NHL.com Staff Writer