Under the glaring spotlight of the entire hockey world, one thing was made clear: Glen Sather was right.

As the Rangers general manager was leaving league meetings in Florida on Wednesday, he called the Penguins, "obviously, I think, the best team in the league."

Whether he was being entirely truthful or not, Sather's sentiment was poignantly driven home last night at the sold-out Garden when the Penguins beat the Rangers, 5-2, for their 10th win in a row.

"It was a really important game for us to establish ourselves, but we lost," Dan Girardi said after the Rangers dropped their fourth game out of the past six and had their lead over the Penguins atop the Eastern Conference cut to four points.