Perhaps the best quality about this season's New York Rangers is that they take nothing for granted, and they never take a game off. Playoffs locked up? Doesn't matter, they want to seal up the No. 1 seed and head into the playoffs on the upswing.
Four straight games against teams with losing records? New York checked that one off its list Friday night against the Montreal Canadiens as they dominated en route to a 4-1 win. The win was the Rangers' 50th, the third time in franchise history they've reached that mark. And 107 points, the Rangers' magic number to clinch is three.
And, oh yeah, a power play that has been embarrassingly bad over the duration of the season? That hasn't gotten this team down, as it scored two times with the man advantage Friday -- and has four in the past two games and nine over its last 11. The Blueshirts deserve credit for sticking with it and finding something that works. Still, they're 28th in the league and need to sustain the success heading into the postseason for it to really count.
It sounds cliche, but besides playing your best hockey when the playoffs start, you also want your best players earning their money. Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards both continued their torrid stretches, as Gaborik notched the game's first goal via a Richards assist and Richards potted the second, on the power play.
While the Rangers struggled against the Canadiens in their previous two meetings -- losing both by a combined score of 8-1, they dictated the pace in this one. Even during a brief lull in the second period, they were able to weather their dip in play.
Michael Del Zotto has had a tremendous season, and he's been night and day from where he was last year. Friday, he sniped the third (on the power play) and fourth goal to give him 10 and 40 points on the season. He's the Rangers most gifted offensive defenseman, and it would be a huge shot in the arm for him to continue his aggressiveness during the point of the year when the games really mean something.
Henrik Lundqvist only faced 20 shots -- a credit to another strong defensive effort -- but his shutout was snapped with 2:29 left in the game as Rene Bourque snuck in the slot to receive Tomas Plekanec's pass from behind the net.