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Rangers look to stay hot Tuesday in showdown with Flames

Ryan McDonagh and the Rangers will take on the Flames Tuesday night at MSG.Getty Images

Ryan McDonagh was feeling philosophical.

It was a little after 9:30 P.M. Sunday, and the Rangers captain was explaining to reporters why he was feeling confident about his team following their 4-3 shootout win over the Blue Jackets.

“We are finding a way to get points and get wins in different fashions," McDonagh said. "That’s the biggest thing at this stage of the season. Everyone is fighting. It’s turning into playoff mode here, trying to find a way to get into the playoffs. For us, we know what makes us successful. It’s a matter of giving ourselves the best chance. This last stretch here, we’ve done a pretty good job of that."

That the Rangers blew a 3-0 second period lead before Martin St. Louis (who scored two goals) and Rick Nash added markers in the skills competition to salt away the reigning Eastern Conference Champions' seventh win in the last 10 games was not lost on anyone.

"We talk all the time about trying to find ways [to win and accumulate points]," St. Louis said. "Obviously up three goals, [needing a shootout is] not the way way you are trying to [earn] two points. We should have pulled away and closed it [out] but at the end of the day, you find a way."

It is the thought process of an experienced team preparing for the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nobody asks how a team won in the two-month long tournament, only if they won. So it is in this atmosphere that the Rangers welcome Calgary into the Garden for a match Tuesday night.

The Rangers enter the second game of the season series against the Flames with 78 points, second most in the Metropolitan Division, fourth most in the Eastern Conference, and fifth most in the league. On the other side of the spectrum, the Flames are engaged in their own playoff race, as are fell to ninth in the Western Conference, and had been passed by the league's hottest team, the Kings. Los Angeles has won seven in a row, including Saturday's Stadium Series game against the San Jose Sharks at Levi's Stadium.

For an organization ostensibly in the beginning stages of a rebuild, the Flames have been one of the National Hockey League's most fascinating teams in the last season and a half.

Even though the Flames finished last season with a 35-40-7 record, Calgary was widely praised by opponents for its work ethic. It has carried over to the 2014-15 campaign. The Flames, led by Norris candidate Mark Giordano are 32-24-4 overall and have won six-out-of-their-last-10. Their 2.85 goals per game average is tied with Pacific Division-leading Anaheim for eighth most in the NHL.

Those are the positives. The negatives are that the Flames are being outshot by one shot per game and have a .567 winning percentage in games in which they have been outshot. Interestingly, the Rangers lead the NHL with a .619 winning percentage in games in which they have been outshot.

 
 
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