Author: James O'Brien

Vladimir Tarasenko

Goals: Serious snipes from Tarasenko, Voracek

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There’s not much to this post, but sometimes, you just want to feast your eyes on some big-time goals.

First, let’s check out Vladimir Tarasenko’s sinister snipe against the Dallas Stars, which served as a game-winner for the St. Louis Blues in a 3-0 decision:

That goal marks Tarasenko’s 34th of 2014-15.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek has had a fantastic season, but he was struggling to score even-strength goals, until he beat Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond with this one:

Voracek still has 21 goals this season anyway, so it’s not like he’s been totally snake-bitten.

Video: Backstrom sets Capitals assists record (for now?)

Nicklas Backstrom
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Nicklas Backstrom earned the 419th assist of his already-impressive career on Sunday, setting a new Washington Capitals record … for now.

The helper came on a John Carlson power-play goal:

The really interesting is that Alex Ovechkin could easily pass him in this game.

Ovechkin, Backstrom and Michal Pivonka came into Sunday tied for the franchise mark with 418 assists. Pivonka obviously will be passed soon enough, but the two faces of the Capitals franchise will duke it out for that mark going forward.

To Nicklas Backstrom’s credit, he’s played more than 200 fewer games than Ovechkin. Considering their relationship (Backstrom is the Montana to Ovechkin’s Rice, if you will), one would assume that the slick Swede will finish with the assists mark while Ovechkin should finish with the Caps’ goals and points records.

Regardless, it really is another reminder that Backstrom should probably have an All-Star Game on his resume, right?

Update: Backstrom added a second assist to give himself 420 and helped Washington win 2-0 (more on that here).

Rangers don’t think Martin St. Louis’ injury is serious

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers
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It was pretty much all good news for the New York Rangers in their 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Sunday. There was one significant exception, though: Martin St. Louis suffered what looked like a lower-body injury.

Footage showed that St. Louis tried to skate the issue off, but it didn’t work out, so he left the game early.

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said that he didn’t have a full update after the game, but the good (early) word is that it doesn’t appear serious, as he told the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross.

Obviously plenty can change regarding the veteran winger’s injury, yet some Rangers fans likely breathed a sigh of relief at this news.

Rangers lead NHL standings after Talbot torments Panthers

Marc Staal, Cam Talbot
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When New York Rangers GM Glen Sather went all-in at the trade deadline, he was probably envisioning something like this.

After beating the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Sunday, the Rangers are clearly the top team in the Eastern Conference at the moment and hold tiebreakers over whichever West team wins tonight’s Nashville Predators – Anaheim Ducks game.

Goaltending’s been a big part of their strong work, even if the guy you’d expect to be driving things (Henrik Lundqvist) hasn’t been healthy enough to go.

Mackenzie Skapski turned heads with his first NHL shutout on Saturday, yet Cam Talbot continues to make an argument that he can be a No. 1 goalie himself. He stopped 38 out of 39 shots for his 17th win of the 2014-15 season, and it’s pretty clear that New York leaned heavily upon him today:

The Rangers now have 95 standings points, which seats them five points ahead against the New York Islanders (who have played three more games than the Rangers). The Blueshirts also have a seven-point lead and one game in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins, so a division title looks very likely as of this writing.

(The Rangers also have a two-point edge and game in hand on Montreal for the East’s No. 1 spot, so … yeah, it’s a pretty rosy situation right now.)

Is this to say the Rangers are perfect? No, it’s probably fair to wonder if this remarkable run of goaltending might hit a brick wall in the postseason. One could probably strain to find other negatives here and there.

Still, the Rangers are looking like a force in the East right now, and Talbot is a big reason why.

They do, however, have to keep an eye on Martin St. Louis’ injury situation. Read more about that here.

WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Capitals

NHL: Bruins v Capitals
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All of a sudden, the Boston Bruins aren’t just fighting for a playoff spot … they’re now fighting for a better playoff spot.

The Washington Capitals get to decide if Boston will advance on their top wild card spot, as the two battle it out on Sunday night. You can catch the action on NBCSN or stream it via NBC Live Sports Extra:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Read more about this matchup in this in-depth preview.