Here are three things to know for tonight's games.
Streaking Rangers, Blackhawks clash
Missing key players in Henrik Lundqvist and Patrick Kane, respectively, the New York Rangers (44-17-7) and the Chicago Blackhawks (42-21-6) continue to pile up victories and are on a collision course Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers carry a five-game winning streak, bolstered by the fine play of Cam Talbot, who's put up a 13-2-3 record since Lundqvist suffered a throat injury on Jan. 31. Lundqvist, 25-11-3 with a 2.25 goals-against average, has been cleared to practice and is said to be on track to return in about a week.
In the meantime Talbot, 27, has thrown up five shutouts this season, his second with the Rangers' big club after being signed as a free agent five years ago. The Rangers, eighth in the east near the end of January, have risen to the top of the Atlantic Division and are among a group of teams topping the NHL with 95 points (Montreal, St. Louis and Nashville are the others) but have played fewer games than the others.
The Blackhawks are doing quite nicely without ace forward Patrick Kane, winning three straight to solidify their playoff position in the Central Division, where they trail the Blues by five points and the Predators by four.
As expected Jonathan Toews has stepped up after Kane went down in late February with a broken clavicle (12-week recovery forecasted), never more so than Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Islanders when Toews scored Chicago's first two goals and assisted on its last two.
Ducks revenge at hand?
Last spring the Anaheim Ducks (44-20-7) let a 3-2 playoff series lead against the Los Angeles Kings (34-22-13) get away as they lost and the Kings went on to claim the Stanley Cup championship. When they meet for the fourth time this current season in Anaheim, the Ducks have a chance for revenge with the Kings' playoff hopes dangling by a thread. They're sitting just on the right side of a virtual tie with the Calgary Flames for third place in the Pacific Division.
All three of their previous meetings in the 2014-15 season have gone to overtime, with the Ducks winning a pair in shootouts, with one game going in favour of the Kings. The Ducks scored an important win over Nashville, 4-2 on Sunday, when they overcame a 2-0 deficit as Ryan Getzlaf started the comeback with his 23rd goal of the season.
For the Kings, Jonathan Quick posted a shutout in their 1-0 victory against Arizona Monday, boosting L.A. into third place in the Pacific, with Calgary having an equal number of points (81) but having played one more game.
The Kings have won three in a row on the road as they line up against the Ducks at the Honda Center.
Edmonton no place for Blue Jackets
The Edmonton Oilers (19-39-12) avenged a February 7 loss in Toronto with a solid 4-1 victory at Rexall Place Monday. Benoit Pouliot paced the victory with a pair of goals, his 15th and 16th of the season, as the Oilers scored all their goals in the opening 11 minutes.
They'd love to get another quick start against the visiting Blue Jackets (30-35-4), who have won four of their last six. They have had trouble in Edmonton, though, dropping six straight decisions in the Alberta capital and have only five wins in 24 starts all-time.Suggest a correction