California dream trip: Rangers stay hot by beating Sharks

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A three-game road trip against challenging California opponents was supposed to humble the red-hot New York Rangers. Instead, it highlighted that the 2014 Stanley Cup finalists might be back in playoff form.

The Rangers swept all three games in this test of a trip, wrapping things up with a 3-1 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

While it was a tough one, the Rangers deserve credit for shaking off Mats Zuccarello’s disallowed goal that maybe should have counted. CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz ranks among those who believe that it should have given New York what would have been a 3-0 lead.

Want to judge for yourself? Check out the replays and click here for the league’s explanation:

It was ultimately a happy homecoming for Dan Boyle, as you can see here. (Well, mostly happy …)

More than anything else, this was about Henrik Lundqvist reminding the hockey world that he remains one of the best goalies alive, though. The Rangers trotted out some impressive stats for their franchise netminder:

Wow. Whether the Pacific is sliding or not, the Rangers have still been very successful against one of the West’s divisions:

The Rangers have now won five games in a row and a staggering 13 of their last 14 contests.

Just to reiterate, this is a rare accomplishment for Lundqvist & Co.

While the New York Islanders currently own the Metropolitan Division lead (57 points in 42 games played) and the Pittsburgh Penguins are right behind them (56 in 41), the Rangers are nipping at their heels with 52 points in 39 games. Considering the Rangers’ second straight slow start of the Alain Vigneault era, this is an impressive turnaround.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, then.