Flyers aim to end Rangers' recent dominance
Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 2:15 AM
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FLYERS (31-16-7--69pts) vs. RANGERS (34-13-5--73pts)
1. THE TOP TWO
Today's game features the Top 2 teams in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference… The Rangers lead with 73 points (34-13-5) with the Flyers trailing them with 69 points (31-16-7) … With a win in regulation, the Flyers can pull within two points of the lead.
2. HIGHEST SCORING; LOWEST GOALS AGAINST
Today's game also features the top scoring team in the NHL, the Flyers, who have scored 176 goals, while the NY Rangers have given up the least amount of goals of any team in the NHL, allowing just 102 goals.
3. CLOSE CALLS
BOTH the Flyers and Rangers have had their last two games decided by one goal and both games have been 1-0 & 4-3 decisions… The Flyers have also had five of their last seven games decided by one goal, while the Rangers have had five of their last seven games decided by a single goal.
4. Player to watch NY RANGERS: Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist owns a perfect 4-0-0 record against the Flyers this season, posting one shutout and a 1.50 GAA to go along with a .949 save percentage.
5. Player to watch FLYERS: Claude Giroux
Giroux has recorded at least a point in four of his last five games, posting three goals and six points in that span.
TV: MSG, CSN-Philadelphia
New York 6-3-1; Philadelphia 4-3-3
This is the fifth meeting between the Atlantic Division rivals, with the Rangers winning the first four. Most recently, Artem Anisimov had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win in New York on Feb. 5.
Can the Rangers continue their dominance against the Flyers? They've won the last six meetings against their division rival, dating to March 6, 2011.
Ruslan Fedotenko arrived at the Rangers' practice facility to work out Friday, but after a few minutes on the stationary bike, it was ruled that the veteran forward would not make the trip to Philadelphia for Saturday's game.
Fedotenko was knocked out of Thursday's game by a hard hit to the head from Tampa Bay's Dominic Moore.
In Fedotenko's place, the Rangers likely will dress defenseman Stu Bickel and go with seven blueliners.
Finally healthy after a first half of the season that saw him suffer shoulder, foot and head injuries, Brayden Schenn
appears to be starting to live up to the vast potential that greeted his arrival in the June deal that sent former Flyers captain Mike Richards to the Kings.
"I think he is finally feeling like he is here and a contributing factor," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's just a tough start when you have three injuries the way he did right from camp. You train all summer, you come to camp and you hope to come in and have an impact and then there are substantial injuries and substantial time. I do think it takes away from everything -- your timing, your game conditioning and everything you need to play. I do feel like now he is getting it back and finding his way out there."
Schenn's goal in Thursday's win against the Maple Leafs was his fourth in his last seven games; he had 2 goals in his first 19 games.
In four games against the Flyers this season, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has allowed just six goals on 118 shots (.949 save percentage). … Schenn is getting hot at the right time for the Flyers -- he's the only Philadelphia player to score more than once on Lundqvist this season.
Besides Fedotenko, the only other Rangers regular out will be defenseman Michael Sauer (concussion). … The Flyers will be without forward James van Riemsdyk
, who has a concussion. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
is questionable due to the flu.
Both teams have 114 wins in the all-time series between the teams.
Due to a quirk in the scheduling, this will be the Rangers' first indoor game in Philadelphia this season.
"I was thinking about that last night after the game," Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto told The (Bergen) Record. "It's a really exciting place to play. The Winter Classic feels like forever ago. Honestly, it was a great experience but (Saturday) will be a totally different experience. That game is not going to come in at all."