The New York Rangers have been absolutely rolling of late, currently riding an eight-game winning streak. They've also earned at least on standings point in 12 straight games. The Blueshirts preserved the streak via a 2-1 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators on the road Saturday and will be returning to home ice to take on Ontario's other hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Both clubs will be traveling from Ontario for the second half of back-to-back games this weekend. While the Rangers have the winning streak going, the Maple Leafs are enjoying the best stretch of their season so far. They've won each of their last three and have points in six of their last seven games, which was something Mike Babcock was all too eager to remind the assembled media after Saturday night's win over the Vancouver Canucks.
The Leafs coach might have a bit of a chip on his shoulder right now, which is probably trickling down to a team that's gotten pretty beaten up this season. Now they're headed into the lion's den Sunday night.
The Rangers are tied with the Montreal Canadiens for the most points in the NHL with 28. They own a remarkable 13-2-2 record and have a sparkling plus-24 goal differential through 17 games this season.
For Sunday, New York may have the slight advantage of a few extra hours rest having played Saturday afternoon and the Leafs playing in a night game, but the Rangers are going to be starting Antti Raanta since starter Henrik Lundqvist took the game against Ottawa Saturday.
Raanta has been a reliable backup so far. He's 3-0-0 with a .976 save percentage so far this season as Lundqvist's understudy. He'll go head-to-head with either James Reimer, who made 43 saves in Toronto's Saturday night victory, or Jonathan Bernier who hasn't played since Oct. 31.