Flyers-Rangers: What you need to know

Flyers-Rangers: What you need to know
January 24, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Flyers vs. Rangers -- 7 p.m., CSN/NHL Network
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, P.A.

The Flyers are off to their worst start in 17 seasons and things won't get any easier for them when they take on the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

Already without Danny Briere because of a hairline fracture in his left wrist, the Flyers received more bad news on Wednesday. Scott Hartnell, who scored a team-high 37 goals in 2011-12, is out indefinitely with a left foot injury.

Brayden Schenn will also miss Thursday night's matchup, the first of five meetings between the Flyers and Rangers in 2013, after receiving a one-game suspension for his hit on Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov in the second period of Tuesday's loss to New Jersey.

Flyers: 0-3 (Fifth in Atlantic Division, 15th in Eastern Conference)

Rangers: 1-2 (Fourth in Atlantic Division, 12th in Eastern Conference)

Last meeting
The last time these two Atlantic Division rivals met, on April 3, 2012, the Rangers scored four first-period goals en route to a 5-3 victory. The win helped the Rangers clinch the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 1994.

The Flyers failed to record a single win in six tries against the Rangers last season (0-6-0) and were outscored 24-11 during the season series.

Previous games
The Flyers fell to 0-3 on the season after a 3-0 shutout loss to the Devils on Tuesday. Veteran netminder Martin Brodeur made 24 saves for his 120th career NHL shutout -- his 10th against the Flyers.

Marian Gaborik netted his 14th career hat trick and the Rangers collected their first win of the season, beating the Boston Bruins in overtime, 4-3, on Wednesday.

Special teams
Both teams have struggled while on the man advantage in the early going. The Flyers' power-play unit has gone just 1-for-15 (6.7 percent, 28th in the NHL) to start the season. The Rangers aren't much better, having connected on just 1 of 14 attempts (7.1 percent, 27th in the NHL).

The Flyers have also had problems killing penalties. Opposing teams have scored six power-play goals on 16 attempts against the orange and black.

On the other hand, the Rangers have done a much better job while shorthanded. The Blueshirts have been a man down 17 times so far this season but have allowed only three power-play goals.

Keep an eye on ...
The Rangers' big three -- Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Gaborik -- have combined for five goals, five assists and 35 shots in New York's first three games. Although they haven't clicked on the man advantage yet, this unit has the ability to go off on any given night.

Ilya Bryzaglov hasn't had much success against the Rangers in his career. Bryzgalov has compiled a 1-5-0 record with a 3.92 goals against average and .873 save percentage in six starts versus New York.

Did you know?
The Flyers have been outscored 33-13 during their current 0-7-1 skid against the Rangers.

Flyers: Briere is still recovering from a left wrist injury sustained during the NHL lockout and is aiming for a weekend return. However, Briere might not play until next Tuesday. He has yet to take physical contact during practice.

Hartnell (left foot) is out indefinitely.

Zac Rinaldo remains sidelined because of a laceration on his right thigh.

Kurtis Foster (soreness) is listed as probable for Thursday's game after missing Tuesday's loss to the Devils.

Rangers: Arron Asham is listed as day-to-day with a mild groin strain. Asham spent two seasons with the Flyers from 2008-2010. He collected 18 goals, 26 assists and 281 penalty minutes in his time with the orange and black.

Defenseman Mike Sauer (post-concussion syndrome) is on Injured Reserve and it's unclear when he will return.

Sound off
With Schenn and Hartnell out of the lineup against the Rangers, who do you expect to step up in their absence?

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