The visiting New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs are two surging teams out to extend their winning streaks to five games Thursday night.
The Rangers defeated the visiting Montreal Canadiens 3-2 Tuesday night and have won six of their past nine games.
The Maple Leafs beat the visiting Nashville Predators 3-0 on Tuesday and have won nine of their past 10.
“We’ve definitely played a lot better hockey,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “Better D-zone, better offensive, the stuff we talked about when we were winning but playing bad, we’ve improved a lot of that.
“So I think the team is getting together, knowing each other pretty well now and it’s just clicking. I thought we played a really good game [Tuesday].”
The Maple Leafs also are feeling good about themselves after goaltender Jack Campbell earned his third shutout of the season Tuesday against a Predators team that had won three straight.
“Jack has remained consistent and solid,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “The guys were not perfect [Tuesday] because we let guys in behind us, but Jack made saves. The posts were on his side [three times Nashville hit goal posts]. He’s just been consistent, reliable. Pucks are hitting him in the chest more frequently than not. He’s hanging on to them. He’s been consistent, he’s been confident, and as a result our team confidence is real high as well.”
Campbell made 24 saves in gaining his seventh career shutout in his 100th NHL game (91 starts). Right winger Ondrej Kase contributed a late-game blocked shot.
“I think the third period was as good as we’ve played,” Keefe said.
“I thought that third period we really stepped up and shut the door,” said Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews, who had a goal and an assist.
The Maple Leafs are 8-2-1 at home. They will be playing the second game of three straight at home on Thursday.
“I think that’s important,” Keefe said. “The way the schedule has worked out, we’ve played more at home than we’ve played on the road. So being good here has been important. Obviously, the road games are going to start to pile up and we’ve got a really good [record] there, too.”
The Rangers are 6-2-2 on the road, including a 2-1 overtime victory in Toronto on Oct. 18.