NEW YORK -- Sometimes the so-so performances stand out more than the great ones.
The surging New York Rangers have been running away with the Eastern Conference and now they are picking up points even when they aren't playing up to the high standard they have set.
"We're playing our third game in two-and-a-half days, and they're not all going to be pretty," Rangers coach John Tortorella said after the Rangers outlasted the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Sunday.
Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik both scored tiebreaking goals in the third period, and the Rangers held on after losing in overtime at Tampa Bay on Friday. New York squandered two-goal leads in both games, but escaped with three of four points.
The Rangers (42-15-7) topped Boston for the fifth straight time, dating to last season, and opened a 12-point lead over the defending Stanley Cup champions. New York's closest pursuer is Atlantic Division-rival Pittsburgh, which is 10 points behind.