MATT: Don't look now, but the New York Rangers are just a game under .500, and three points out of second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. They've won three in a row and four of their last five after their admittedly poor start to the season. They've doing all of this without Rick Nash — played in just two games this season — and Ryan Callahan, who has battled a string of injuries but is expected back as early as this week. They have a bona fide top line with the Derek Stepan trio, a strong second line with Brad Richards centering Benoit Pouliot and Carl Hagelin. The power play is clicking, going 4-for-11 during the win streak. The defense, which was so worrisome at the start, is back to its old ways. The man in net is certainly back to being the player we all know he's capable of being, and his backup is as reliable as any No. 2 in the NHL right now. This upcoming week will definitely be a test for the Rangers, but all signs are pointing to the Rangers turning the corner.
JIM: No question the Rangers are turning the corner, Matt, and it starts in their own end. The Rangers's success of late---just as it has been the past several years---has been predicated on limiting their opponents' scoring chances and keeping their goals against among the lowest in the league. It's been six straight games now---and seven of the last eight---that the Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer. During their three-game winning streak they have surrendered only three goals in total. That's a nice recipe for success, and a great starting point with the the other correct facts you mentioned. Big week coming up---Anaheim on Monday at MSG, a team that ripped the Rangers 6-0 in early October, then the first-place Sidney Crosby-led Penguins at The Garden on Wednesday, followed by the anticipated first match against the Blue Jackets in Columbus Thursday, before a home tilt with the Florida Panthers next Sunday. Things are trending up for sure, now the Rangers must continue their new-found success and build consistency in all facets of their game.