Flyers Start Important Five-Game Homestand With Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers (13-16-1) vs New York Rangers (15-13-3)
Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, PA
7:30 p.m. on NBCSN and 97.5 FM The Fanatic
Setting the Stage
This is the fourth of five meetings between the two teams. The Rangers lead the season series, 2-1 so far, with Philadelphia winning 2-1 back on January 24 and the Rangers taking the next two, 2-1 on January 29 and 4-2 on March 5.
The Flyers have lost six of their last eight games, earning points in only three of those games. They're in dead last of the Atlantic Division and five games out of a playoff spot. They're starting a five-game home stand in which they hope they can turn the ship around without the trials of travel.
The Rangers are struggling equally as bad as the Flyers, having dropped five of their last seven games and are currently on a two-game skid. They've earned points in just three of those last seven games as well.
The Flyers will be without defenseman Nicklas Grossmann again tonight. Danny Briere is also out with a concussion, and Tye McGinn will dress and reportedly skate with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on the top line.
What to Expect
The Flyers know what's at stake. Every game from here on out is going to be a must-win situation.
Voracek is still the Flyers leader in points with 33 despite having scored one goals and two assists in the last six games. Giroux has points in five of his last six games.
New York cannot score for the life of them. They are 29th in the league in scoring, and their points leader is Rick Nash with just 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists).
The Masked Men
Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to make his league-leading 30th start. He stopped 33 shots in a heart-breaking 2-1 over time loss to the Penguins on Sunday. His GAA on the season at a high 2.75 while he got his save percentage back up to .900.
Henrik Lundqvist will get the start against the Flyers. He has a cool 2.21 GAA (7th in the NHL) and .921 save percentage (8th) on the season.
Keys to the Game
1. Neutralize Nash. Nash's physical style of play allowed him to decimate the Flyers the last time the two teams met. Good positioning and not being afraid to put the body on him are going to be the two major factors in having success against him.
2. Better Pressure. The Flyers put some solid pressure on Marc-Andre Fleury Sunday, but they still were out-played by Pittsburgh. They need to get shots on Lundqvist, who has allowed no more than two goals in each of his three games this season against the Flyers.
3. McGinn. A lot of pressure is going to be put on McGinn, who will likely be skating with the top line tonight. Playing in his first action in a month since fracturing his orbital bone, McGinn brings a combination of size, skill and toughness to the lineup. His spark could have a positive effect on Giroux and Voracek, the latter desperately needing a break out game.
“We’ve got five home games coming up - this is our week. We got to get some wins together... Everybody knows the standings. It’s everywhere. I can’t deny I am not looking at the standings. To me, my personal message to the guys is: 'It is still in our hands. We can control our destiny.'" - Kimmo Timonen on Monday.