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Philadelphia Flyers (18-21-3--39pts)
New York Rangers (21-16-4--46pts)
TV: CSN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
Prior to tonight's game featuring the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers, the Flyers will recognize those who were affected by yesterday's tragedy in Boston, as well as honor the first responders who came to their rescue with a moment of silence followed by a tribute video and performance of "God Bless America".
1. FLYERS LATELY
The Flyers come into today playing the second-half of games on back-to-back nights after posting a 7-3 win at Montreal last night… The Flyers own a 5-4-0 record in the second half of back-to-backs, having won their last three in that scenario… The Flyers also own a 3-1-0 record when the second half of games on back-to-back is played at home… The Flyers play three of their next five games against Atlantic Division opponents and of their six remaining games, four are at home where they have a 12-6-2 record… The last four Flyers victories have come when they have scored five goals or more.
2. RANGERS LATELY
The Rangers have won five of their last seven games and earned a point in the standings in six of those contests… During that seven game stretch, the Rangers have allowed two or fewer goals in six of those contests… The Rangers have also had three of their last five games decided past regulation, including their last two games that were shootout and overtime victories… The Rangers hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.
3. THE SEASON SERIES
This is the fifth and final meeting of the season against the Rangers, who own a 3-1-0 record in the season series thus far… The Flyers have dropped three straight meetings against the Rangers since earning a 2-1 win on Jan. 24, the team's first victory of the season… The Flyers have scored seven goals in the season series, five of which have come on the power play… Rick Nash has four goals and six points in four games against the Flyers this year… Wayne Simmonds has six points (3g-3a) in four games against the Rangers.
4. Player to watch FLYERS: Jakub Voracek - (RW) #93
Voracek posted a three-point night in the Flyers' 7-3 win over Montreal last night with a goal and two assists… He is tied for the team lead in scoring with 42 points, averaging a point-per-game this year and leads the team in goals (18) which also ties his career-high… Against the Rangers this season, Voracek has six points (3g-3a) in the four-game season series… Voracek is also one of four Flyers to have appeared in all 42 games this season (Giroux, Timonen, Fedotenko).
5. Player to watch RANGERS: Derek Stepan - (C) #21
Stepan has posted at least a point in six of his last seven games, having his six-game point streak snapped in the team's last game… During that stretch, Stepan has posted four goals and five assists for nine points… His recent surge has vaulted him to second on the team in scoring with 34 points, one behind Rick Nash, and he also leads the team with 20 assists and a plus-minus rating of +18… Against the Flyers, Stepan has six points (1g-5a) in four games of the season series.
"There's a reason why [the puck] went in tonight. It was because we're working, winning battles and going to the net."
- Claude Giroux
Henrik Lundqvist is looking every bit like the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, and that may eventually be enough to get the New York Rangers back to the playoffs.
For now, they'll settle with him continuing his dominance of the Philadelphia Flyers.
With the Rangers trying to create a cushion for the final playoff position, Lundqvist is expected to remain in net in an effort to beat the Flyers for the 12th time in 13 attempts Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
Lundqvist won last season's Vezina by going 39-18-5 with a 1.97 goals-against average and eight shutouts. He's among the NHL leaders this season with 19 wins and a 2.06 GAA, and his play in April could be the start of him making a case at another Vezina.
He's started all seven games this month, going 5-1-1 with a 1.53 GAA and one shutout, helping the Rangers (21-16-4) move into the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference. They're one point behind the seventh-place New York Islanders and two back of Ottawa for sixth. However, they're just two points ahead of ninth-place Winnipeg with seven games to go - one more than the Jets.
Lundqvist came up big again Saturday, making 29 saves while Dan Girardi scored with 1:49 left in overtime to clinch a 1-0 road win over the Islanders.
"He was not the goalie that we know as the season started, but he has certainly been at the top of his game," coach John Tortorella said of Lundqvist, who lost five of his first eight starts behind a 2.83 GAA. "There's no coincidence that we're 5-1-1 and he's been really good."
He's certainly been good against the Flyers (18-21-3), winning 11 of his last 12 meetings with the Atlantic Division rival behind a 1.66 GAA and two shutouts. That includes winning each of the past three matchups this season while stopping 81 of 86 shots.
Lundqvist had 32 saves while Derek Stepan had four points and Rick Nash three in a 5-2 win at Wells Fargo Center on March 26.
Stepan thrives against the Flyers, collecting 17 points in 16 games for his highest total against any opponent. The center has notched nine of those points in seven visits to Philadelphia, and he enters this one with nine in seven games this month.
Nash has four goals and one assist in the past two games versus the Flyers.
New York has won five of the last six games at Philadelphia.
The Flyers, who are seven points back of the Rangers in the playoff race, are hoping Monday's 7-3 win at Montreal can provide a spark heading into the final six games. That matched their highest scoring output of the season and snapped a four-game slide, during which they were outscored 12-3.
"It has been a tough year for goals, especially the last few games," said left wing Scott Hartnell, who had a hat trick against the Canadiens to give him seven goals on the season. "You never know."
Claude Giroux, who had three points Monday, has five goals and 11 assists in the past 13 games, but Philadelphia only has a 5-6-2 record to show for it.
The captain has 26 points in 27 career meetings with the Rangers, getting 16 in 13 home games.
Jakub Voracek is tied with Giroux for the team lead with 42 points after also getting three against the Canadiens. The right wing has scored four goals while setting up four others in the past five games against New York, but is a minus-3 in that stretch.
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