The New York Rangers are atop the Atlantic Division, but lately they've needed extra time to pull off any sort of victory. The Calgary Flames, on the other hand, have been taking care of business in regulation.
The Flames will look for their fifth win in six games Sunday at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers, who are trying to rebound after their second lopsided loss in less than a week.
Calgary (15-10-1) looked to be headed in the right direction in late October, when it won six in a row after a 1-3-1 start. The Flames responded with five losses in their next seven games, but have played like a different team since then.
Using a stifling penalty kill and some timely goal scoring, Calgary is 6-2-0 in its last eight contests. After a 3-1 loss to Dallas on Tuesday, the Flames came out flat Friday in St. Louis, falling behind 3-1 after two periods.
Power-play goals from Jarome Iginla
and David Moss
tied the score in the third, though, and Michael Cammalleri's
10th of the season won it in overtime.
"It's definitely a positive and you want to be able to contribute," said defenseman Dion Phaneuf
, who assisted on all four goals. "It was a huge win for our team. We didn't get off to the start we wanted. We were down 3-1 and to come back, it's a huge win."
Iginla scored for the first time in four games, and a meeting with the Rangers (18-9-2) might be another big offensive opportunity for the only player in the Western Conference to score 50 goals last season. Iginla scored twice in a 4-3 win over New York on Jan. 2, and has seven goals and three assists in his last six games versus the Rangers.
Despite allowing two power-play goals in St. Louis, the Flames' penalty killing has been the key to their strong play of late. Those were the only two goals Calgary has allowed in its last 24 times short-handed, a 91.7 percent kill rate that's second in the league since Nov. 18.
The Rangers also know how to kill penalties, considering they have an NHL-best 90.1 percent success rate. Lately, though, they're having trouble stopping teams at even strength.
New York rebounded from a 4-0 loss to Florida with a 3-2 shootout win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, but the next night in Montreal was another tough one for goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist was pulled for the second time in five starts in the loss to the Panthers, then stayed in Thursday despite allowing six goals in a 6-2 defeat to the Canadiens.
"If you compared the two teams, one looked like an NHL team and the other like a non-NHL team," Lundqvist told the Rangers' official Web site Thursday. "I don't know what was missing. A lot of things, I think. They were all over us."
Despite Lundqvist's recent struggles, he remains one of the league's elite goaltenders, and his 2.33 goals-against average isn't far off from his 2.23 GAA last season.
He's tied with Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff
with an NHL-high 25 starts, and Lundqvist has continually helped the Rangers pick up an extra point. New York is 6-4-0 since Nov. 15, and five of those wins have come courtesy of a Lundqvist-led shootout victory.
Calgary, visiting MSG for the first time since January 2006, hasn't been involved in a shootout since Feb. 5.