Tonight's game is the Flyers' 41st game of the season...The Flyers have a 21-15-4 record for 46 points through 40 games...The Flyers defeated Thrashers in Atlanta on Tuesday, 4-1 and the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday, 3-2...The Flyers lost at New Jersey on Friday, 3-0, ending the team's three-game winning streak...The Flyers defeated the Panthers in Florida on Dec. 30, 1-0 (the Flyers' third straight win - first time that the team has won three consecutive games since winning five straight games from Oct. 10 through 20) and the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Dec. 29, 4-2 (the Flyers' second straight win - first time that the team has won consecutive games since Nov. 10 & 12)...Tonight's game is the final game of a six-game road trip (4-1-0 record through five games)...The Flyers defeated Toronto in Philadelphia on Dec. 27, 4-1, ending the team's six-game winless streak (0-4-2) and their four-game winless streak at home (0-2-2)...The Flyers did not win their 21st game of the season during the 2006-07 season until their 76th game of the season (March 28)...The Flyers have a 16-4-2 record when scoring the first goal of the game...The Flyers have only lost twice when leading after a period (8-1-0 record when leading after the first period and 18-1-0 record when leading after two periods)...The Flyers have an 8-5-4 record at home and a 13-10-0 record on the road...The Flyers' 6-0-0 home record was the team's best start at home since their 8-0-0 start at home during the 1986-87 season.
Shots: The Flyers have averaged 27.2 shots per game and have allowed 33.2 shots per game this season...The Flyers have been outshot on average 6.0 shots per game...The Flyers have been outshot in 28 of 40 games this season (6-3-2 record when outshooting opponent; 14-12-2 record when outshot by opponent; 1-0-0 record when shots are even).
REGULAR SEASON LIFETIME SERIES VS. NY RANGERS: This is the third of eight games between these two teams this season. The Flyers are winless through the first two games (0-1-1 record - 2-0 loss at NY on Nov. 5 and 4-3 shootout loss in Philadelphia on Nov. 15). The Flyers have a four-game winless streak against the Rangers (0-3-1). The Flyers' last win against the Rangers was on Feb. 17, 2007 (5-3 at NY). The Flyers lead the all-time series with a 102-93-37-5 record, including a 45-49-23-2 record on the road.
November 15: NY Rangers 4, FLYERS 3 in shootout at Wachovia Center: Brendan Shanahan scored the lone goal of the shootout to give the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Flyers. Jim Dowd, Danny Briere and Denis Tolpeko each scored a goal for the Flyers. Goaltender Martin Biron allowed three goals on 29 shots faced during regulation play and overtime and one goal on two shootout attempts faced to record the loss. Tolpeko (1G,1A) and Riley Cote (1A) each recorded their first career NHL point. Stars of the Game: 1st - Brendan Shanahan; 2nd - Scott Gomez; 3rd - Denis Tolpeko.
Simon Gagne (LW) - Has missed the last 26 games due to concussion...Is on a day-to-day basis.
Sami Kapanen (RW) - Missed game at Atlanta on Tuesday recovering from injuries sustained when hit by a puck to the mouth at Toronto on Saturday...Is on a day-to-day basis.
Joffrey Lupul (RW) - Missed game at Atlanta on Tuesday due to a mild concussion and spinal cord contusion sustained at Toronto on Saturday...Will be out of action indefinitely.
Mike Rathje (D) - Has missed the last 40 games due to Piriformis Syndrome...Is out of action indefinitely.
Jason Smith (D) - Has missed the last four games due to a leg injury...Is on a day-to-day basis.
Scottie Upshall (LW) - Has missed the last four games due to a sprained right ankle sustained at Tampa Bay on Dec. 29...Is on a day-to-day basis.
January 2 - Flyers recalled forward Steve Downie from the Philadelphia Phantoms.
January 3 - Flyers recalled forward Stefan Ruzicka from the Philadelphia Phantoms.
January 7 - Flyers recalled forward Ryan Potulny from the Philadelphia Phantoms.
January 9 - Flyers reassigned forward Ryan Potulny to the Philadelphia Phantoms.
FLYERS' RECORD AGAINST:
The Flyers have an 18-11-4 record against Eastern Conference opponents; including 4-4-1 against Northeast Division teams, 8-2-2 against Southeast Division teams and 6-5-1 against Atlantic Division teams, and a 3-4-0 record against the Western Conference; including 3-2-0 against Northwest Division teams and 0-2-0 against Pacific Division teams.
GOALS FOR/GOALS AGAINST:
The Flyers have scored 122 goals this season (3.05 goals per game average)...The Flyers allowed 108 goals against this season (2.68 GAA).
The Flyers have a 19-1-4 record when scoring three or more goals and a 2-14-0 record when scoring two or fewer goals. The Flyers have a 2-13-4 record when allowing three or more goals and a 19-2-0 record when allowing two or fewer goals.
The Flyers have scored 44 goals on 193 power play attempts this season (22.8%), including 21 goals on 104 attempts on the road (20.2%)...The Flyers have successfully killed 165 of 201 power play attempts against this season (82.1%), including 99 of 123 attempts on the road (80.5%)...The Flyers scored seven shorthanded goals this season, while allowing four shorthanded goals against.
The Flyers were scoreless on four power play attempts at Florida on Dec. 30, ending a streak of 10 consecutive games that the Flyers had scored at least a power play goal (16 for 62, 25.8%).
January 8: FLYERS 4, Atlanta 1 at Philips Arena: The Flyers scored four second-period goals to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 win over the Thrashers in Atlanta. The win increased the Flyers' winning streak against the Thrashers to eight games. Jeff Carter scored two goals, 13 seconds apart, to lead the Flyers. Steve Downie and Scott Hartnell each scored a goal for the Flyers. Hartnell posted three points (1G,2A) in the contest. Carter's two goals scored 13 seconds apart were the second quickest pair of goals scored by a Flyer since Ron Flockhart scored two goals in eight seconds vs. St. Louis on Dec. 6, 1981. Goaltender Antero Niittymaki stopped 27 of 28 shots faced to record the win, his third consecutive win. Stars of the Game: 1st - Jeff Carter; 2nd - Scott Hartnell; 3rd - Ilya Kovalchuk.
January 5: FLYERS 3, Toronto 2 at Air Canada Centre: Mike Richards' third-period power play goal broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Flyers a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Steve Downie and Jeff Carter each also scored a goal for the Flyers. Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki stopped 54 of 56 shots faced to record the win. The 56 shots faced set a new team record for most shots against (55 at Montreal on Jan. 3, 1977). Niittymaki's 54 saves set a new team record for saves in a game. Mats Sundin scored both Toronto goals. Stars of the Game: 1st - Antero Niittymaki; 2nd - Alexander Steen; 3rd - Mike Richards.
January 4: New Jersey 3, FLYERS 0 at Prudential Center: Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur stopped all 36 shots faced to record the 3-0 win over the Flyers. Patrik Elias led the Devils with a goal and an assist. The loss ended the Flyers' three-game winning streak and extended the Flyers' losing streak at New Jersey to 11 games. Stars of the Game: 1st - Martin Brodeur; 2nd - Paul Martin; 3rd - Patrik Elias.
December 30: FLYERS 1, Florida 0 at BankAtlantic Center: Derian Hatcher's third-period goal was the only goal of the game and gave the Flyers a 1-0 win over the Panthers. Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki stopped all 38 shots faced to record the shutout. Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun allowed one goal on 20 Flyers shots to register the loss. Stars of the Game: 1st - Antero Niittymaki; 2nd - Derian Hatcher; 3rd - Tomas Vokoun.
December 29: FLYERS 4, Tampa Bay 2 at St. Pete Times Forum: Joffrey Lupul recorded a goal and two assists to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 win at Tampa Bay. Scott Hartnell, Mike Knuble and Kimmo Timonen each also scored a goal for the Flyers. Goaltender Martin Biron stopped 31 of 33 shots faced to record the win. The win allowed the Flyers to win consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 10 and 12. Lupul scored his goal on a penalty shot, the Flyers' first successful penalty shot since Feb. 21, 2004 (Simon Gagne scored on Atlanta's Pasi Nurminen - unsuccessful on the previous eight attempts). Stars of the Game: 1st - Joffrey Lupul; 2nd - Martin Biron; 3rd - Martin St. Louis.
The resurgent Philadelphia Flyers have gone from the NHL's worst team last season to one pushing for the Atlantic Division lead in 2007-08. They'll look to continue their hot play Thursday when they take on the sinking New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Flyers (21-15-4) finished with the worst record in the league at 22-48-12 in 2006-07, but they've made that look like an aberration of late. Philadelphia defeated Atlanta 4-1 on Tuesday night for its fifth win in six games since a six-game losing streak.
The Flyers scored four goals in the second period, including two by Jeff Carter within a span of 13 seconds, as Philadelphia remained five points behind first-place New Jersey and four behind Pittsburgh.
Philadelphia's eighth straight win over the Thrashers improved it to 4-1 on a road trip that concludes Thursday.
"When you have a team's number, it gives you confidence," said Flyers forward Scott Hartnell, who had a goal and two assists in the second period. "You play with that confidence on the ice. This is no different."
While that confidence might have been sorely lacking last season, Philadelphia apparently didn't lose faith during the six-game skid from Dec. 11-22. The Flyers have turned it around with strong defensive play, allowing six goals in their last five wins.
Much of the credit for that goes to goalie Antero Niittymaki, who will make his third straight start Thursday. Niittymaki has won his last three starts, surrendering three goals over that span.
While the Flyers are playing with confidence, the Rangers' seems to have disappeared during a three-game road swing through western Canada last week. New York (20-18-5) came into the trip having won three in a row, but suffered losses to Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.
A return to MSG on Tuesday didn't help the Rangers get back in the win column, as they lost 5-3 to Tampa Bay. New York was within a game of the Eastern Conference lead on Dec. 1, but is 5-9-3 since and has fallen into a tie for last place in the Atlantic - one point behind the Flyers.
On Tuesday, the Rangers fell behind 4-1 before pulling to within one goal in the third period, but couldn't complete the comeback despite outshooting the Lightning 13-3 over the final 20 minutes.
"Everybody knows we should have won and we have to win," said Henrik Lundqvist, who made 21 saves. "Somebody asked if it was a wake-up call. That wake-up call came a week or two weeks ago."
New York was without two of its top six forwards in Martin Straka (concussion) and Sean Avery (bruised hand), while left wing Brendan Shanahan played despite a bruised knee. Avery was placed on injured reserve, while Straka's status for Thursday is uncertain.
The injury news is much better for the Flyers, who could get four players back in the lineup Thursday. Defenseman Jason Smith and forwards Simon Gagne, Sami Kapanen and Scottie Upshall all skated during Wednesday's practice and could play.
New York has won both meetings with Philadelphia this season, 2-0 on Nov. 5 and 4-3 in a shootout Nov. 15. The Rangers have won four straight and seven of eight versus the Flyers.