Rangers win a big game against the Capitals, plus the latest on Tuukka Rask, Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Semyon Varlamov and more. 

Game recap.

Carl Hagelin (center) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals.

New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin (center) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The New York Rangers took over the top spot in the NHL’s overall standings with a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Cam Talbot made 28 saves while Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller and Martin St. Louis scored for the Blueshirts.

Goaltending updates.

CSNNE.COM: The play of Tuukka Rask is a big factor in the Boston Bruins’ recent improvement.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: As the Blackhawks struggle to score, goaltender Corey Crawford has picked up his game.

THE DENVER POST: As the Colorado Avalanche aim for a playoff spot, they have no intention of shutting down starting goalie Semyon Varlamov, who’s once again sidelined by a groin injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumb move by Avs coach Patrick Roy. Varlamov’s already missed 16 games to groin injuries this season. He risks serious injury if he continues playing. The Avs are seven points out of playoff contention. Even if they make it, they’re pretty much a first round-and-out team. It’s simply not worth jeopardizing the long-term health of their top goaltender. 

MIAMI HERALD: Dan Ellis gets the start tonight in goal for the Florida Panthers as Roberto Luongo (shoulder) remains sidelined. It’s hoped Luongo can return to action this weekend.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unlike the Avalanche’s head coach, Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant isn’t willing to risk aggravating an injury to his starting goalie. And his club has a better shot of reaching a playoff berth than the Avalanche. 

Notable headlines.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy is sidelined at least two weeks with an upper-body injury.

THE TENNESSEAN: Having reached the 20-goal mark earlier this season for the first time in his NHL career. Nashville Predators forward Colin Wilson is finally realizing his potential.

NJ.COM: It remains a mystery why New Jersey Devils forwards Michael Ryder and Martin Havlat haven’t played since the trade deadline. GM Lou Lamoriello claims the pair know why they’re healthy scratches, but both claim they don’t know why.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing it’s because they simply haven’t played well this season. 

PHILLY.COM: Flyers GM Ron Hextall isn’t ready to give up on his club’s slim playoff hopes.