The Devils lead the Eastern Conference, thanks to back-to-back wins over their closest Atlantic Division rival, the Penguins.

The Bruins are the conference's best team right now – and possibly the NHL's – after setting a franchise record for their best 10-game start.

The Rangers? Their second strong win in eight days over the high-scoring Lightning left them with a tenuous hold on the eighth and final playoff position, a spot that could be eclipsed by either the Hurricanes or Flyers before the Rangers reach the quarter pole of this lockout-shortened, 48-game season tonight at Boston.

But the signs are there that the Rangers are ready to snap out of their early season inconsistency and begin to challenge their lofty preseason expectations.

Darroll Powe – "Powsie" among the dressing room brotherhood – is a big reason why.

Excuse me?

Yes, Powe, a 27-year-old fourth liner in his fifth NHL season who has 28 goals and 28 assists in 297 career games but is a hard-working penalty killer, shot blocker and forechecker.

By acquiring Powe from the Wild for rugged veteran Mike Rupp, who had trouble keeping up with the pace of the game after last season's knee injury, and with the recent play of rookies J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider along with the return of captain Ryan Callahan from a left shoulder injury, coach John Tortorella now has a more balanced lineup in which he can roll four lines if he so desires.

"We've got something good on each line right now and that helps a lot," Brad Richards said.