Rangers-Flyers Preview/Game Notes
Friday, 03.21.2008 / 7:00 PM
Tonight's game is the Flyers' 75th game of the season...The Flyers have a 36-28-10 record for 82 points through 74 games (fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference)...The Flyers have earned at least a point in the standings in 11 of the last 15 games (6-4-5)...The Flyers have won four of their last six games at home (4-2-0) after defeating the Atlanta Thrashers,3-2, on Tuesday at the Wachovia Center...Philadelphia dropped a 7-1 decision at Pittsburgh on Sunday following a 3-2 overtime loss at Boston on Saturday...The Flyers won at Buffalo on Feb. 25, 4-3 in a shootout, ending their 10-game winless streak (0-8-2 - tied for the fourth longest winless streak in team history)...The Flyers' 3-2 shootout loss at Ottawa on Feb. 19, ended the team's seven-game losing streak (longest losing streak of the season and tied for the second-longest losing streak in team history)...The Flyers have surpassed their win and point totals from last season (finished the 2006-07 season with 22 wins and 56 points)...The Flyers have a 25-6-6 record when scoring the first goal of the game...The Flyers have only lost nine times when leading after a period (14-2-2 record when leading after the first period and 25-1-3 record when leading after two periods)...The Flyers have a 17-14-6 record at home and a 19-14-4 record on the road.
Shots: The Flyers have averaged 28.4 shots per game and have allowed 32.2 shots per game this season...The Flyers have been outshot on average 3.8 shots per game...The Flyers have been outshot in 45 of 74 games this season (15-8-3 record when outshooting opponent; 19-19-7 record when outshot by opponent; 2-1-0 record when shots are even).
REGULAR SEASON LIFETIME SERIES VS. NY RANGERS:
|Jeff Carter faces off against Rangers' forward Blair Betts at Madison Square Garden during a game on March 2. (Getty Images)
This is the seventh of eight games between these two teams this season. The Flyers have one win through the first six games (1-3-2 record - 2-0 loss at NY on Nov. 5, 4-3 shootout loss in Philadelphia on Nov. 15, 6-2 win at NY on Jan. 10, 4-0 loss in Philadelphia on Jan. 31, 2-0 loss in Philadelphia on Feb. 9 and a 5-4 shootout loss at NY on March 2). The Flyers lead the all-time series with a 103-95-38-5 record, including a 57-46-15-2 record at home.
March 2: NY Rangers 5, FLYERS 4 in a shootout at Madison Square Garden: The Rangers outscored the Flyers, 2-0, in the shootout to defeat the Flyers. 5-4. Jeff Carter
(2G), Scottie Upshall (2A) and Kimmo Timonen
(2A) each posted two assists in the contest to lead the Flyers. Goaltender Martin Biron stopped all 21 shots faced in 43:09 minutes played in relief of Antero Niitymaki, but allowed both Rangers shootout goals to record the loss. Braydon Coburn
and Vaclav Prospal each scored a goal for the Flyers. Stars of the Game: 1st - Brendan Shanahan; 2nd - Stephen Valiquette; 3rd - Jeff Carter
TOTAL MAN-GAMES LOST TO INJURY IN 2007-08: 277
Simon Gagne (LW) - Has missed the last 19 games due a mild concussion sustained at Pittsburgh on Feb. 10...Will be out of action indefinitely.
Derian Hatcher (D) - Missed last two games after sustaining a fracture of his right tibia at Boston on Saturday...Will be out of action indefinitely.
Randy Jones (D) - Missed last three games due to a hip flexor injury sustained vs. Toronto on March 12...Is on a day-to-day basis.
R.J. Umberger (C) - Left game at Pittsburgh on Sunday after sustaining a sprain in his left MCL... Will be out of action for at least two weeks.
March 15 - Flyers reassigned forward Jesse Boulerice to the Philadelphia Phantoms.
March 19 - Flyers signed forwards Rob Bellamy, Matt Clackson
and goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak to entry-level contracts.
FLYERS' RECORD AGAINST:
The Flyers have a 31-23-10 record against Eastern Conference opponents; including 7-8-5 against Northeast Division teams, 13-4-3 against Southeast Division teams and 11-11-2 against Atlantic Division teams, and a 5-5-0 record against the Western Conference; including 3-2-0 against Northwest Division teams and 2-3-0 against Pacific Division teams.
GOALS FOR/GOALS AGAINST:
The Flyers have scored 222 goals this season (3.00 goals per game average)...The Flyers allowed 209 goals against this season (2.85 GAA).
The Flyers have a 34-9-7 record when scoring three or more goals and a 2-19-3 record when scoring two or fewer goals. The Flyers have a 7-24-8 record when allowing three or more goals and a 29-4-2 record when allowing two or fewer goals.
The Flyers' 4-0 loss vs. NY Rangers on Jan. 31, ended the team's streak of 11 straight games of scoring at least three goals (48 goals over span - 4.36 goals per game).
The Flyers have scored 79 goals on 353 power play attempts this season (22.4%), including 43 goals on 181 at home (23.8%)...The Flyers have successfully killed 290 of 349 power play attempts against this season (83.1%), including 132 of 162 attempts at home (82.1%)...The Flyers scored 13 shorthanded goals this season, while allowing six shorthanded goals against.
The Flyers' 4-0 loss vs. NY Rangers on Jan. 31, ended the team's streak of 11 straight games of scoring a power play goal (19 goals in 57 power play attempts - 33.3%).
Jaroslav Modry - Needs one assist to reach 200 in the NHL.
Martin Biron - 43
Joffrey Lupul - 31
Mike Knuble - 26
March 18: FLYERS 3, Atlanta 2 at Wachovia Center: The Flyers received goals from Mike Richards
, Jeff Carter
and Vaclav Prospal to earn a 3-2 win and their ninth straight victory over the Atlanta Thrashers. Joffrey Lupul added two assists on the night, while Antero Niitymaki turned aside 17 of 19 shots, including a point-blank opportunity from Ilya Kovalchuck in the waning seconds of the game to preserve the victory. Stars of the Game: 1st: Jeff Carter
; 2nd: Joffrey Lupul; 3rd: Kari Lehtonen.
March 16: Pittsburgh 7, FLYERS 1 at Mellon Arena: Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora each registered two goals and two assists to lead the Penguins to a 7-1 win over the Flyers. Pittsburgh scored the first three goals and the final four goals of the game to keep the Flyers winless in their last four games. Mike Knuble scored the lone goal for Philadelphia, who was playing the back end of their 16th pair of back-to-back game on the season. Stars of the Game: 1st: Evgeni Malkin; 2nd: Petr Sykora; 3rd: Pascal Dupuis.
March 15: Boston 3, FLYERS 2 in overtime at TD Banknorth Garden: Boston's Andrew Ference scored a goal with 27 seconds left to play in the third period to tie the score at 2-2 and Aaron Ward scored a goal in overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Flyers. Mike Richards
and Danny Briere
each scored a goal for the Flyers. Goaltender Martin Biron allowed three goals on 36 shots faced to record the loss. Stars of the Game: 1st - Tim Thomas; 2nd - Dennis Wideman; 3rd - Chuck Kobasew.
March 12: Toronto 3, FLYERS 2 at Wachovia Center: Pavel Kubina scored his second game-winning goal in as many nights to lift Toronto to a 3-2 win over the Flyers on Wednesday night and sweep the home-and-home series against Philadelphia. The Flyers fought back twice in the contest with goals from Jeff Carter
and Mike Knuble to knot the score at two apiece heading into the third period. Kimmo Timonen
and Danny Briere
provided assists on the night, while Martin Biron made 28 saves in a losing effort. Stars of the Game: 1st: Pavel Kubina; 2nd: Jeff Carter
; 3rd: Carlo Colaiacovo.
March 11: Toronto 4, FLYERS 3 in overtime at Air Canada Centre: The Flyers allowed the final four goals of the game to turn a 3-0 third-period lead into a 4-3 overtime defeat at Toronto. Defenseman Pavel Kubina scored two goals, including the game-winning goal in overtime, to lead the Maple Leafs. Braydon Coburn
(1G,1A), R.J. Umberger (2A) and Vaclav Prospal (2A) each posted two points to lead the Flyers. Scottie Upshall and Danny Briere
each scored a goal for the Flyers. Goaltender Martin Biron allowed four goals on 55 shots faced to record the loss. Stars of the Game: 1st - Mats Sundin; 2nd - Vaclav Prospal; 3rd - Pavel Kubina.
Though Henrik Lundqvist usually starts for the New York Rangers, Stephen Valiquette knows how to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers in their own building.
If Valiquette gets the call on Friday night, he will try to blank the Flyers (36-28-10) for the third time this season as they welcome the Rangers (39-26-9) to the Wachovia Center.
In 24 career games, including 14 starts since 1999-2000, Valiquette has recorded two shutouts - both coming against the Flyers in Philadelphia. He stopped 20 shots in a 4-0 win on Jan. 31, then made 31 saves on Feb. 9 in a 2-0 victory.
New York has won 11 of its last 12 games in Philadelphia, and is 6-0-1 there since a loss on April 15, 2006. Scott Gomez of the Rangers, who spent the first seven years of his career playing for Atlantic Division-rival New Jersey said a quick start always helps.
"You have to take the fans out of it early," he said.
Valiquette hasn't played since a 5-4 shootout win over the Flyers on March 2 at Madison Square Garden. After Lundqvist allowed three first-period goals, Valiquette relieved him to start the second and made 17 saves plus two more in the shootout.
Lundqvist gave up five goals in consecutive losses to Florida and Tampa Bay last week that ended New York's 13-game point streak, but has bounced back against Pittsburgh and New Jersey - the teams New York are chasing in the Atlantic. He recorded his 100th career win in the Rangers' 5-2 win over the Penguins on Tuesday, then made 17 saves plus three more in the shootout en route to a 2-1 win against the Devils on Wednesday.
Chris Drury scored with less than five minutes to play in regulation and Nigel Dawes tallied the lone shootout goal as New York improved to 6-0-0 against the Devils, closing the gap on the Atlantic Division leaders to four points with eight games remaining.
Lundqvist told the Rangers' official Web site that picking up points at this time of the season is important.
"You start to get a little nervous as the game winds down because you realize how important it is, the points are so huge," said Lundqvist, 5-0-0 with a 2.89 goals-against average over five career starts in Philadelphia. "You almost start to think that maybe it's too good to be true to beat them six times in a row."
New York is trying to reach 40 wins in three straight seasons for the first time since a four-year run from 1970-74.
The Flyers, meanwhile, are eighth in the East, one point behind seventh-place Boston with eight games to play.
Philadelphia snapped a three-game losing streak by winning its 10th in a row over Atlanta, 3-2 on Tuesday. Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Vaclav Prospal scored for the Flyers, who set a season high in outshooting the Thrashers 47-19.
"We had some trouble winning games a couple of times this year, but we got the job done tonight," said Antero Niittymaki, who made a key stop on 50-goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk in the final seconds to preserve the win.
But both Niittymaki and Biron, though, have had trouble solving New York when playing in Philadelphia. Niittymaki has allowed 11 goals while losing his last three home starts while Biron is 0-2-1 with a 3.97 GAA in three starts since coming over in a trade from Buffalo in February 2007.