The New York Rangers have a gaudy record, but that was hardly on their minds after an alarming loss their last time out.
Avoiding another one Friday means ending the four-game winning streak of the Boston Bruins, who have dominated their series in recent years.
Despite its fast start, New York (16-4-2) stumbles into TD Garden looking to bounce back from a 5-1 rout to Montreal on Wednesday that snapped a nine-game home win streak. The Rangers again have championship aspirations but looked outclassed by the Canadiens, perhaps their biggest obstacle to getting out of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Montreal scored three times in the third period to put the game out of reach and won despite the departure of star goaltender Carey Price to injury after the second.
"We didn't obviously answer the bell for the challenge we had tonight," coach Alain Vigneault told the team's official website. "We are going to have a good practice (Thursday) and get ready for Boston."
Counterpart Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals for the first time in 45 starts and was pulled with 10 minutes left in the game.
"I'm extremely disappointed to give up five goals," said Lundqvist, who managed to remain the NHL leader in goals-against average at 1.94 by one-hundredth of a point over Washington's Braden Holtby. "I've been feeling good lately, so hopefully this was just a little bump in the road. I felt good for two periods, but then that third goal was a big letdown. For some reason I lost attention to detail there a little bit."
The Rangers, who came in having won 11 of 12, have dropped nine of 11 to the Canadiens. They've had similar problems against the Bruins (12-8-1), who are 5-1-0 in the last six meetings and 7-1-2 in 10 - lopsided results that could also spell trouble for the Rangers in the East playoffs.
Frank Vatrano scored his second goal of the game in overtime to give streaking Boston a 3-2 victory at Detroit on Wednesday. Vatrano deflected rookie defenseman Colin Miller's shot past Petr Mrazek for his third NHL goal.
''It feels great. Really a big win for us,'' Vatrano said.
Miller scored his second career goal with 1:44 left to tie the game.
''The first two periods it was really frustrating watching our team play,'' coach Claude Julien said. ''Our young guys came through tonight and we found a way to win, but we've got to be better.''
The Red Wings held a 34-22 shot advantage, including 11-4 in the second period.
Jonas Gustavsson gave Tuukka Rask a day off with 32 saves, and Rask is expected to be back in net Friday. He's posted a 1.95 goals-against average in 15 career starts against the Rangers.
New York's Rick Nash scored Wednesday to give him five goals in three games after recording two in his first 17. He's scored a goal in his last two matchups with the Bruins.
Boston's Loui Eriksson had an assist against Detroit to give him four goals and three assists in the past six games. He's off to a strong start with nine goals and 10 assists, putting him well ahead of his pace of last season, when he finished with 22 goals and 25 assists.
Eriksson has recorded six points in a five-game streak against New York. Teammate Patrice Bergeron has three goals and an assist in his last five matchups.
The Bruins have outscored opponents 4-0 in the first period during their win streak and are second in the league in goal differential in the opening 20 minutes at plus-9 - one behind the Rangers.