The New York Rangers continue their franchise-record tying seven-game homestand on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) against the Carolina Hurricanes.
New York, which is 3-0 against the Hurricanes this season, enters with a four-point lead over the Penguins in the battle for first place overall in the Eastern Conference.
Pittsburgh, which has won nine straight, visits the Rangers on Thursday, a game in which Sidney Crosby will make his long-anticapated return to the lineup.
The Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with Sunday's exciting 4-3 victory over the Islanders as Marian Gaborik
scored a power-play goal with six seconds remaining.
Still, New York needs to shore up the defense, which has looked a little shaky of late, allowing three or more goals in six straight games.
Henrik Lundqvist has surrendered three or more goals in five straight, and it is strange to see him let in that many.
But it simply could be the law of averages catching up to him after being unconscious for most of the season. Inevitably, you're going to have ups and downs in an 82-game campaign.
Lundqvist's 16 goals allowed in March matches his total in December and January (he surrendered 13 in February). Yet his
goals-against is still under two (1.88) and his save percentage above .930 (935).
That gives you an indication of how well Lundqvist had been playing and he still has to be considered one of the favorites for the Vezina.
While we tend to be a glass-is-half-empty-kind-of-guy, maybe the Rangers' offense is coming alive after scoring seven goals in the last two games. New York had three power-play goals against the Islanders, obviously a good sign.
And Brad Richards finally showed up with two goals and an assist in possibly his best game as a Blueshirt.
On a negative note, however, Ryan Callahan didn't skate on Monday due to his lingering foot injury and is listed as day-to-day. Michael Del Zotto also missed Sunday's game with a bruised hip.
PLAYOFFS ON THE HORIZON -- Rangers' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is six. ... Rangers need seven points to reach the century mark for the seventh time in franchise history and first time since 2005-06. They need 20 points in final 14 games to surpass the franchise-record of 112 points set in 1993-94 (probably not going to happen).