Rangers Host Flyers at MSG
Philadelphia Flyers (11-11-1) at New York Rangers (10-8-2)
Madison Square Garden -- New York, NY
7:00 PM on CSN and 97.5 The Fanatic
Setting the Stage
This is the third of five meetings between the Flyers and Rangers. The Flyers won the first meeting, a 2-1 win back on January 24. Then New York won a week later by the same score.
The Flyers are riding a two-game winning streak, getting to .500 for the first time this season. They beat the Senators in a wild 2-1 win on Saturday. New York is also on a two-game winning streak after dropping four straight. They beat the Sabres 3-2 in a shootout win.
Brad Richards' status is game-time for the Rangers. He suffered a vicious cross check from Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta and was driven into the boards. Though he was in pain the Rangers are optimistic he can play tonight against Philadelphia.
What to Expect
New York has really struggled to score lately. They haven't scored more than three goals in their last eight games, compiling a 2-3-3 record during that span. They sit 23rd in the league averaging 2.45 goals per game.
New York is 8-4-1 at home and the Flyers are 4-8-0 on the road. Philadelphia's power play is 9th in the league with a 20.8% success rate while New York has successfully killed off 85.3 of the penalties they faced, good for 7th in the NHL.
Rick Nash is New York's leading point getter with 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists). Their leading goal scorers are Carl Hagelin and Marian Gaborik, each finding the back of the net seven times.
The bulk of the Flyers production has come from Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux of the top line and Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn of the second line. Voracek leads the team in points with 25 (9 goals, 16 assists) as well as tied with the lead in goals with Simmonds. Giroux is right on Voracek's point trail with 22 (7 goals, 15 assists) and Schenn is there with 19 points (6 goals, 13 assists).
The Masked Men
Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to make his lead-leading 22nd start. Having had a couple days of rest, Bryzgalov should be fresh for New York. He has been incredibly sharp since donning his new Star Wars-themed mask, stopping 56 of 58 shots faced in the Flyers last two games, both wins.
Henrik Lundqvist is the obvious choice for the Rangers. The Swedish netminder has been sharp once again this season for New York. He's stopped 52 of 55 in the last two games he's played in, both wins for the Rangers. On the season he's boasting a .918 save percentage and 2.28 GAA.
Keys to the Game
1. Stay Hot. Head coach Peter Laviolette stressed that getting to .500 was the issue, and that he wanted his team to focus more on rattling off a winning streak. They Flyers have the chance at their first three-game winning streak tonight if they just continue to play the way they have against Washington and Ottawa.
2. Simmonds Down Low. Simmonds has three game-winning goals in the last four games. He's been doing most of his work in front of the net, getting loose pucks and just playing physical. He can be a real nuisance in front of Lundqvist tonight if the Rangers let him be.
3. Be Pests. If Brad Richards does play for New York tonight, the Flyers have to keep the body on him. He may still be a bit sore and shell shocked after taking a cheap hit from Kaleta. Not saying they should take liberties at him, but having a pest on the ice like Rinaldo out there to wreak his usual havoc will keep stars like Richards, Gaborik and Ryan Callahan on their toes. Rick Nash is a bigger guy so defensemen like Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn and Nick Grossmann will need to play more physical with him.
"Not only has he been getting better he still is spreading his wings here. I think at the beginning of the year coming back it maybe took him a few games to get up to speed but right now he's a real strong power forward. One of the strongest in the game."
- Head coach Peter Laviolette on Jakub Voracek