At a glance: With the Penguins’ 6-4 loss to the Flyers in a heated division rivalry game Sunday afternoon, the Rangers are in the driver’s seat to clinch the Eastern Conference title against the Bruins at Madison Square Garden Sunday night. The Rangers need only one point to secure the top spot in the East, but they’ll face a Bruins squad looking to stave off a series sweep.
Lopsided series: Although the Rangers and Bruins have dominated the Eastern Conference all season, the series between the two teams hasn’t been as competitive. The Rangers won each of the three meetings and aim to take the fourth tonight. Sixteen of the last 20 meetings between the two teams have been decided by one goal.
Nine straight: With less than a week left in the regular season, the Rangers will keep starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who's on a roll. The 30-year-old Vezina front-runner is expected to make his season-high ninth consecutive start against the Bruins. Lundqvist (38-16-5, 1.91 GAA, .932 save %) has recorded wins in six of his last seven starts and was less than three minutes away from posting his ninth shutout of the year when Montreal’s Rene Bourque scored with 2:27 to play in the Rangers 4-1 win over the Habs Friday. Backup netminder Martin Biron has not played since March 15, when he made an expected start against the Penguins with Lundqvist out because of illness.
Man-up: With a pair of man-up goals against the Habs Friday, the Rangers tallied multiple power-play goals in consecutive games for the first time this season. Considering the unit’s struggles this season – they enter the match ranked 25th in the league with a 15.3 success rate – the Blueshirts hope that is a harbinger of things to come. After toppling the Canadiens, the Rangers improved to 24-1-4 in games they have scored a power-play goal.
Lights-out: The last time goaltender Tim Thomas paid a visit to Madison Square Garden, he didn’t leave so enthralled by the World’s Most Famous Arena. The veteran netminder ripped the Garden after his Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Bruins last month, saying he was looking forward to playing in “an arena with lights.”
Almost at 40: Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik is one goal shy of reaching 40 for the second time in his Rangers career. The 30-year-old recorded his 39th Friday night and will be looking to notch his next against the Bruins.