Flyers at Rangers -- 7 p.m., CSN
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
After failing to beat the Rangers in six tries in 2011-12, the Flyers took the first of five 2013 meetings with the Rangers with a 2-1 win last Thursday.
The Flyers have scored two or fewer goals in five of six games so far this season, and will need to get their offense going early against a Rangers team that has one of the most dangerous first lines in hockey.
Flyers: 2-4-0 (Fifth in Atlantic Division, 13th in Eastern Conference)
Rangers: 2-3-0 (Fourth in Atlantic Division, 10th in Eastern Conference)
The Flyers snapped an eight-game winless streak against the Rangers with a 2-1 victory at Wells Fargo Center in the last matchup between these two Atlantic Division rivals. Wayne Simmonds scored a goal and tallied an assist and Jakub Voracek netted the game-winning, power-play goal in the second period. Ilya Bryzgalov was solid in net, pushing aside 18 of the Rangers’ 19 shots.
Sean Couturier scored less than a minute into Sunday’s game in Tampa Bay, but that’s all the Flyers could muster in a 5-1 loss to the Lightning. Michael Leighton allowed five goals on 26 shots in his first start of the season. The Flyers’ power-play unit failed to connect on five opportunities, including a four-minute advantage in the first period.
The Rangers rallied for four goals in the third period of Saturday’s 5-2 come-from-behind victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Marian Gaborik had four points (two goals, two assists) and Henrik Lundqvist made 15 saves to help New York to its second win of the early season.
Simmonds has gotten off to a strong start for the Flyers. Through six games, the 24-year-old has two goals, two assists and 27 penalty minutes. Simmonds is also a plus-1 and is tied with Voracek for the team-lead in shots with 17.
For the Rangers, Gaborik is leading the way in the early going. The 30-year-old has recorded five goals, three assists and 19 shots on goal in New York’s first five games.
Keep an eye on ...
The Rangers’ big three -- Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Gaborik -- have combined for eight goals, 11 assists and 54 shots through the first five games of the season. The Flyers limited New York’s top line to just one point -- Gaborik’s power-play assist on Taylor Pyatt’s marker -- in last Thursday’s win.
Special teams have been an issue for both clubs. The Flyers are just 4 for 31 (12.9 percent) on the power play and have allowed an NHL-worst nine goals while shorthanded. The Rangers are even worse on the the man-advantage, having connected on just 2 of 22 (9.1 percent) attempts, but have successfully killed off 79.2 percent of their penalties.
In seven career starts against New York, Bryzgalov has gone 2-5 with a 3.46 goals against average and .881 save percentage.
Captain Claude Giroux is a plus-8 with six goals and 17 assists in 24 games against the Blueshirts.
Lundqvist has had plenty of success against the Flyers. In 38 starts against the orange and black, “King Henrik” is 22-11-0-3 with a 2.58 goals against average and .913 save percentage.
Richards has nine goals and 29 assists in 38 games against the Flyers.
Did you know?
The Flyers have an all-time record of 115-109-37-7 in 268 games against the Rangers. However, New York is 8-1 and has outscored the Flyers 34-15 over the last nine meetings between the two clubs.
Winger Zac Rinaldo sustained a right thigh laceration in the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to the Sabres on Jan. 20 and has not played since.
Rangers: Forward Chris Kreider is listed as day-to-day with a bone chip in his ankle. Kreider did not play last Thursday against the Flyers and has not recorded a point in three games this season.
Defenseman Mike Sauer (post-concussion syndrome) is on Injured Reserve and is out indefinitely. Sauer last played on Dec. 5, 2011 and it’s unclear when he’ll return.
How concerned are you by the Flyers’ lack of discipline so far this season?