The New York Rangers have an ample cushion atop the Eastern Conference, but coach John Tortorella's focus is on turning around a sluggish stretch and not on where his team sits in the standings.
The Rangers look to re-establish their success on the road by beating the rival New York Islanders again Friday night.
The Rangers (38-15-5) are on top of the East by seven points over Northeast Division-leading Boston but haven't been able to continue pulling away in the race recently, dropping two of three following an 8-1-1 stretch. Those struggles continued with Tuesday's 2-0 loss at Pittsburgh.
Tortorella isn't concerned with the order in the East and doesn't think it factors in any additional motivation for opponents.
"I don't even think about first place. I think about every game, we're trying to win," he said. "I don't even look at the standings. Again, we're just trying to get better as a team and prepare each and every day to try to win hockey games.
"I sense teams are hard to...