Feb. 28 can't come soon enough for Carl Hagelin.
That's when he'll get his next crack against the Lightning, the team that has brought out his best on offensive in this shortened season.
Hagelin notched a pair of goals and an assist against Tampa Bay in Sunday's 5-1 win over the Lightning, and has now scored all of his five points against the Lightning. All five of those points have come in bunches after he started the season with seven scoreless games. He's also scoreless against the seven other teams the Rangers have battled.
"It's being in the right spot a lot," Hagelin said. "The puck is going in now compared to before. It's not a huge difference. Obviously, I didn't get off to a great start the first three or four games, but since then I've had chances and I've been able to put them in and today they went in."
Just 31 seconds into the game, Hagelin gave the Rangers a 1-0 edge when he deflected a shot from Rick Nash past Mathieu Garon. In the second, Hagelin managed to sneak the puck through the five-hole on Garon to give the Rangers a 3-0 edge. His assist came in the third on Rick Nash's goal that made it 5-1 with eight seconds left.
His two goals, three points and six shots on goal all tied career-highs.
ABOVE .500: This might not have been expected before the season, but it took the Rangers 11 games before finally moving above .500. The Rangers have struggled to be consistent this season (their longest winning streak is two games), and will go for three straight against Boston Tuesday.
"I think we really need to bunch some wins together here, not win a couple, lose a couple," Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. "Now we have to create some distance between the .500 record we had before and just keep putting wins together and that's how we're going to have to jump up the standings."
FIRST FOR ASHAM: Arron Asham scored his first goal as a Ranger on Sunday to make it 4-1 in the third. As an enforcer, Asham isn't going to score many goals, so his teammates and coaches enjoy when he's able to find the back of the net.
"I think a guy like Ash, what he does, a lot of players won't do it. Those type of guys who fight for their teammates and do all of the dirty things in the game and score a goal, you're certainly happy for him. He's a good teammate. He's played on about a hundred teams and every team we talked to said he's a great guy.
"He was feeling it. The next shift after he was wheeling and dealing. Good for him. I'm happy for him because he has a lot of things to do in the game that a lot of players aren't willing to do."