Rangers-Rick Nash: After Sunday's 4-1 win over the Capitals, Rick Nash described himself as a streaky player. Well right now he is on his hottest streak of the season, having scored seven goals in the last eight games after his two-goal outing against Washington. Despite missing 17 games earlier this season due to a concussion Nash now leads the Rangers with 14 goals, and in game-winning tallies with six. He not only is scoring goals at a higher rate than before, his scores are important ones, game-turning and often game-winning ones. Sunday he scored 70 seconds into the game, putting the Caps on their heels right away. 24 hours earlier he fired a tracer past Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson for the eventual winner, and most definitely one that changed the complexion and momentum of that game against the Senators. Then of course there was the game-winner in the final minutes against Dallas, scored from the seat of his pants. You get the idea. There is no coincidence that the Rangers are rolling at the same time their big-time scorer is, as well. He now has 35 goals in 78 games as a Ranger, roughly one every other game. The Rangers definitely would sign up again and again for that kind of production.
Islanders-John Tavares: A Hart Trophy finalist a year ago when he scored 28 goals and recorded 47 points in 48 games, Tavares is playing even better this season, continuing his upwards-trending career arc which saw him post a career-high 81 points two years ago. This season Tavares is the NHL's second-leading scorer with 59 points in 51 games, and he ranks 12th with 23 goals. The incredible thing is that at 23 years of age, Tavares likely has many better days ahead. Not surprisingly this former first overall draft pick was selected to play for Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, where the natural centerman has stated he is willing to play on the wing if it is more beneficial to the team. His maturity belies his years, and he is already a respected captain in the National Hockey League. Interestingly in two games against the Rangers this season, Tavares has failed to register a single point.