Rangers aim to extend hot streak vs. Kings

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers aim to build off their most impressive offensive output of the season as they welcome the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night to Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers set a season high in goals scored with a 7-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. They had scored just seven goals in their previous four games combined, but saw six different skaters light the lamp versus the Ducks.

Derek Stepan scored a pair of goals after going 14 straight without one and also had an assist, while defenseman Keith Yandle assisted on three goals. Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and Derick Brassard also tallied.

Cam Talbot backed the torrent of goals with a 36-save performance.

"They showed in the first that they can score two pretty quickly. You can never think that a lead is safe with that team," Talbot said.

The Rangers won for the seventh time in eight games and improved to 8-1-1 this month. That has them seven points ahead of the New York Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 99 points. That also matches the Montreal Canadiens and Ducks for the most points in the NHL.

Talbot, meanwhile, improved to 15-3-3 since starter Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined by a throat/neck injury in early February. Talbot is expected to face the Kings for the second time in his career tonight on the same day that Lundqvist is in line to return to practice with the club.

Talbot made 28 saves in a 4-3 victory at Los Angeles on Jan. 8, but the Rangers have dropped four of their past six as the host in this series.

Jonathan Quick allowed all four goals on 26 shots in the loss for the Kings.

Los Angeles kept pace in its playoff chase with a 3-1 victory over the hosting New Jersey Devils on Monday night. The Kings are two points behind the idle Calgary Flames for third place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand. They also trail the Winnipeg Jets by four points for a wild card spot.

The Kings snapped a two-game slide by winning the first of five straight on the road as Quick made 19 saves last night and Anze Kopitar had a goal. Kopitar also assisted on first-period tallies by Andrej Sekera and Tyler Toffoli, while Marian Gaborik also had two assists.

"It was big," said Kopitar. "That first period was good for us."

Kopitar upped his career assist total to 386, surpassing Butch Goring for sixth place on the club's all-time list.

Kings defenseman Alec Martinez played for the first time since Feb. 7 after missing time with a concussion, while Mike Richards returned from a stint in the minor leagues to play his first game with L.A. since Jan. 21. He logged 11 minutes and 41 seconds of ice time.