I honestly don't know when it happened. Actually, maybe I did.
I could sense it growing, sure, I could even honestly say that I saw it coming. But to actually sit and make the realization that the New York Rangers are truly the Eastern Conference's best team is new and unfamiliar territory.
It's nice. Really nice in fact.
Tuesday night's 3-0 victory over the Boston Bruins wasn't just another tough two points on the table -- although it was, and the Rangers made sure they snatched them up -- it was a test. The Rangers had already beaten the Bruins once before this season, and even that win had required a Marian Gaborik game-winner in the dwindling seconds of overtime after the Rangers held on despite a furious Bruins' attack.
Tuesday night was nothing of the sort. Join me after the jump for more.
The Bruins played hard, and if it were not for the brilliance of Henrik Lundqvist this game certianly could have been a lot closer than the score would indicate, but it was yet another night in which the Rangers did what needed to be done for a win. In other words, what the Rangers have been doing all year.
The team is getting it done no matter what the circumstances, no matter who the team, no matter where they're playing. Ryan Callahan is playing like a man possessed, as is Michael Del Zotto, Artem Anisimov and Ryan McDonagh. They've all played huge roles in the Rangers' recent success, but they're not the only players making an impact.
That's another reason why this team is so special. It's not like teams of the past when Jaromir Jagr or even Gaborik are the only players doing the heavy lifting. Every player is contributing in one way or another. One night it might be a Brandon Prust goal, another it might be a Gaborik hat trick, although more often than not its another gem from Lundqvist.
The power play seems to be back on track, going 1-for-1 against the Bruins. While I wont sit here and tell you that the Rangers' power play is completely fixed, the puck movement has been crisp, intelligent and, ultimately, lethal.
So here we sit, atop the Eastern Conference by nine points.
I have to say, the view from up here is nice. Really nice in fact.