Flyers vs. Rangers – 7:30 p.m., CSN
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Flyers: 18-21-3 (Fifth in Atlantic Division, 12th in Eastern Conference)
Rangers: 21-16-4 (Third in Atlantic Division, eighth in Eastern Conference)
The last time these two bitter division rivals met Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek scored a pair of unconventional goals and Claude Giroux had two assists, but their efforts were not matched by their teammates in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers on March 26 at Wells Fargo Center. Derek Stepan lit up the orange and black for a goal and three assists, while sniper Rick Nash tallied two markers and a helper for the Blueshirts.
Tuesday will mark the fifth and final meeting between the Flyers and Rangers this season. After taking the first matchup of the season, the Flyers have dropped their last three games against New York and have been outscored by the Rangers 12-7 in the 2013 series.
Less than 24 hours ago, the Flyers went off for a 7-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens to snap a four-game losing skid. Scott Hartnell notched his seventh career hat trick, while Giroux and Voracek each tallied a goal and two assists to help pace the Flyers’ offense, which had scored just three markers in their previous four contests. Luke Schenn played a career-high 33:25, registering five hits and four blocked shots.
The Rangers last played on Saturday, collecting a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders on Dan Girardi's second goal of the season 3:11 into overtime. Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 29 saves to register his first shutout of the 2013 campaign and the 44th of his career. With the victory, the Rangers climbed to within one point of the Isles for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings with seven games remaining.
Solving 'the King'
A major reason why the Rangers have been able to move into the eighth and final playoff position in the East has been the play of Lundqvist. In seven starts this month, Lundqvist has gone 5-1-1 with a 1.53 goals-against average with one shutout.
To make matters worse for the Flyers, Lundqvist has been flat-out dominant when taking on the orange and black over the past few seasons. He has won 11 of his last 12 starts against the Flyers behind a 1.66 GAA and two shutouts.
“The King” could be adding another Vezina Trophy to his list of accomplishments, as the netminder ranks amongst the NHL leaders in wins (19), goals-against average (2.06) and save percentage (.928) in this lockout-shortened season.
The Flyers snapped a six-game goalless drought on the man advantage after scoring two power-play markers –- both from Hartnell –- against the Canadiens on Monday.
One of the few things that have gone right for the Flyers this season has been their play while a man up. They have the third-best unit in the NHL and have the second-most goals on the PP this season (36).
Keep an eye on...
Voracek, who has been a bright spot in a season of disappointments for the Flyers, scored his 18th goal of the season against the Habs, tying the career high he set last year. It took the 23-year-old 36 fewer games to accomplish the feat this season and he remains tied with Giroux for the team-lead in points with 42. In four games against the Blueshirts this season, Voracek has tallied three goals and three assists.
One Ranger the Flyers have had a tough time containing has been Stepan. The center tallied four points the last time the two clubs met and has one goal and five assists in four games against the orange and black this year. In addition, Stepan’s 17 points in 16 games versus the Flyers is his highest total against any opponent.
Did you know?
Hartnell has registered seven career NHL hat tricks – six as a member of the Flyers. The last time he tallied three goals in a game came on Jan. 22, 2012 in a 6-5 loss shootout loss to the Boston Bruins.
Flyers: Add another defenseman to the long list of Flyers’ injuries. Kent Huskins suffered a concussion in the first period of Monday’s win over the Canadiens after taking an ugly high hit from Ryan White (see story). There is no timetable for his return.
Braydon Coburn (separated left shoulder), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Andrej Meszaros (left shoulder surgery), Max Talbot (broken left leg), Zac Rinaldo (high left ankle sprain) and Jody Shelley (left hip surgery) are all out for the rest of the season.
Rangers: Marc Staal (facial laceration/swollen right eye), Derek Dorsett (broken collarbone) and Michael Sauer (concussion) all remain sidelined for New York.
With six games remaining and seven points out of a playoff position, do you think there is still a chance the Flyers can make the postseason?