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Flyers face off against the Rangers in an important Atlantic Division battle

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 8:02 AM

Associated Press

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Flyers face off against the Rangers in an important Atlantic Division battle
Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers (11-11-1--23pts)
at
New York Rangers (10-8-2--22pts)

TV: CSN - RADIO: 93.3 WMMR

1. 2-1 ANYONE?
This is the third of five meetings on the season between the Flyers and Rangers, and final game in New York… The teams come into tonight ranked 8th (Flyers) and 9th (Rangers) in the Eastern Conference standings, separated by just one point... The teams split the previous two meetings, both winning on home ice and both winning by a score of 2-1… Of the six goals scored in the series, four have been on the power play… The Rangers come into today's game having won the last two games, while the Flyers have also won two in-a-row and five of their last seven games.

2. GETTING PHYSICAL
As a team, the Flyers are second in the league in hits (631)… The Flyers have had 30 or more hits in four of their last five games… Luke Schenn is fourth in the NHL with 86 hits, while Zac Rinaldo resides in fifth at 83 hits… The Rangers rank third in the NHL in hits (601) this season with captain Ryan Callahan leading the team and is tied for eighth in the NHL with 72 hits… The Flyers have taken 144 overall penalties this season, which leads the league.

3. THIS & THAT
The Rangers are 8-4-1 on home ice and own the League's 4th best penalty kill at home (88 percent)… Half of Claude Giroux's points this season have come on the power play (3g-8a)… The Rangers have won six of their eight games in which they have scored the first goal, while the Flyers have won eight of 11 games in the same circumstance… Dating back to last season, the Rangers have scored the first goal in six of their last eight games… The Rangers have won nine of their last 10 games against the Flyers, dating back to Mar. 6, 2011… Henrik Lundqvist has held opponents to two goals or less in 10 of his last 14 games.

4. Player to watch FLYERS: Wayne Simmonds - (RW) #17
Wayne Simmonds has three game-winning goals in his last four games, and has posted at least a point in six of his last seven games for a total of five goals and nine points… He ranks fourth on the team in points (17) and is tied for first in goals (9)… Simmonds also has three points (1g-2a) in the two previous games against the Rangers this season and has a total of seven points (4g-3a) in 12 career games against the Blueshirts.

5. Player to watch RANGERS: Rick Nash - (LW) #61
Since his return from injury, Nash has four points (2g-2a) in his last two games for the Rangers… He leads the team in overall scoring with 16 points, and is tied for the team lead in assists (11)… Nash is also tied for the team lead in plus-minus (+8)… Nash has seven points (2g-7a) in nine overall games against the Flyers, however has only one assist in two games this season against Philly.

QUOTABLE
"We have some big games coming up and we've been playing well as of late. I think we just have to carry over our momentum and put together good, 60-minute efforts, and I think we'll be successful here this week."
- Wayne Simmonds

After battling for Eastern Conference supremacy last season, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are among the biggest disappointments in 2012-13.

Recent success has both teams gaining confidence, but the Rangers have held the edge in this series of late.

The Rangers attempt to match their longest winning streak of the season Tuesday night and extend their recent mastery over the Flyers.

New York (10-8-2) claimed the first seed in the East for last season's playoffs, edging out Philadelphia (11-11-1) by one point.

While one point separates the clubs this season, it's not even close to being the difference for such a lofty status. The Flyers hold at slight advantage on the Rangers for the conference's eighth and final playoff position.

Still, both clubs feel their headed in the right direction.

Philadelphia has won five of seven, following up Wednesday's 4-1 win over Washington with Saturday's 2-1 victory versus Ottawa. The team is hoping to get its first three-game winning streak as it reaches the season's midpoint.

"Lately, even in the games we've lost, we've felt we've created some chances," center Danny Briere said. "We've showed up, played hard. We just haven't gotten the results we wanted every single night, but I really feel we've been getting better since we started the season.

"That's what keeps us believing that we're a different team than we were, and a tough team to play against."

The Rangers may be feeling the same as they try to conclude this four-game homestand with a third consecutive win after dropping five of six (1-3-2).

They're finding success on the power play, converting 3 of 8 chances over the past two games after going 4 for 39 over the previous 12. New York scored twice on a five-minute major in Sunday's 3-2 shootout win over Buffalo.

"Even though we haven't scored a lot on it, I think the past couple of weeks, I think our movement has been better," coach John Tortorella said. "You score a couple goals (Sunday) to help you win a hockey game, hopefully that helps your confidence. That's what it's about. It's about guys just feeling good about their game, allowing themselves to play and just being creative."

Confidence seems to be present when the Rangers face the Flyers since they've won nine of the last 10 meetings, including a 2-1 victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 29. They've taken five straight there between the teams - their longest such streak since reeling off 11 in a row from Jan. 14, 1990-Nov. 4, 1992.

Rick Nash is giving the Rangers a spark with two goals and two assists in two games since returning from an undisclosed injury that forced him to miss four contests, during which New York went 0-3-1. The star left wing leads the team with 16 points in as many games, and has nine during a during a six-game points streak.

Brad Richards is expected to be in the lineup after the Sabres' Patrick Kaleta shoved him from behind, forcing him to go headfirst into the boards, creating the major that resulted in New York's key power play. Richards, who later returned to the game, has not scored a goal in his last 15 contests.

The center had eight points in six games against the Flyers last season, but has none in two games in 2012-13.

Jakub Voracek has six goals and nine assists in eight games. The right wing has five points in his last five games versus the Rangers, scoring a goal in the latest visit to MSG.

Philadelphia will be without Harry Zolnierczyk, who was suspended four games for his hit on Ottawa's Mike Lundin.

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 16 '13NYR 2 at PHI 4K. Timonen
Mar 26 '13NYR 5 at PHI 2D. Stepan
Mar 05 '13PHI 2 at NYR 4R. Nash
Jan 29 '13PHI 1 at NYR 2R. Callahan
Jan 24 '13NYR 1 at PHI 2J. Voracek
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Voracek24101727-3652
C. Giroux2471623-51231
W. Simmonds2110919-24653
B. Schenn2361319+2920
K. Timonen2421214+12620
M. Read187613+0211
D. Briere205813-5621
L. Schenn24257+42000
S. Couturier22257-6400
M. Knuble18246-31801
R. Fedotenko24156+31000
S. Gagne14156+1410
T. McGinn16325+31901
M. Talbot24145-42300
B. Coburn24145-93900
K. Foster12145+1410
S. Hartnell8134+12900
N. Grossmann24123+11500
B. Gervais22123-9600
Z. Rinaldo20202-55700
T. Sestito7202+11201
E. Gustafsson9022-2200
H. Zolnierczyk6011+03600
S. Laughton5000+0000
E. Wellwood4000+0000
A. Meszaros4000-1000
J. Shelley1000+0000
A. Lilja1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
I. Bryzgalov2211-10-1565772.68.903
B. Boucher30-1-05492.48.898
M. Leighton10-1-05265.08.808
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Nash1771118+102211
M. Gaborik217815-1403
D. Stepan215813+9622
B. Richards2021113+0800
C. Hagelin217411+21011
M. Staal212911+41410
R. Callahan187310+0642
D. Girardi19189+1800
R. McDonagh20268+1800
M. Del Zotto19268+5800
T. Pyatt21426+5410
A. Stralman21314+1400
J. Miller13224+1410
C. Kreider11112+0600
A. Asham12101+11700
J. Halpern21011-4600
B. Boyle18011-71700
S. Eminger8011+1200
B. Ferriero4011+0000
D. Powe18000+01300
S. Bickel14000-24700
M. Gilroy12000-3000
M. Rupp8000-31200
B. Mashinter4000-2000
B. Segal1000+0200
K. Newbury1000+0700
M. Haley1000+0000
C. Thomas1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
H. Lundqvist1810-7-1404912.27.919
M. Biron41-1-191012.50.911
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