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Rangers look for rebound game against the Flyers; Girardi expected to play

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Flyers 10-24

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Setup:

The Rangers (23-15-5) are coming off of a tough 3-1 loss at the hands of the Islanders, playing well for almost the entire game but suffering a few miscues that led to both of the Isles’ goals. They will remain on the road to face another divisional foe, taking on the Philadelphia Flyers (19-15-7) at the Wells Fargo Center.

The loss dropped the Rangers into third place, meaning they will likely be in a fight for a playoff spot for the rest of the season. They have a three point lead over the next team in their division, which is surprisingly the Carolina Hurricanes. Pittsburgh and the Devils are just four points behind, and the Flyers are looking to move up and claim a playoff spot of their own. Philadelphia trails the Rangers by six points, but they have two games in hand. That makes this game very, very important.

Season Series:

The Rangers and Flyers will be meeting for the third game of their five game season series, and the Rangers have only managed to capture one point in the first two games. The Flyers won the first game in Philadelphia in a shootout by a final score of 3-2. Henrik Lundqvist was remarkable, making 46 saves in a losing effort. The Flyers also blanked the Rangers on home ice, 3-0, back on November 28th. Antti Raanta stopped 31 of the 33 shots that he faced. Derick Brassard and JT Miller are the only two Rangers to score against Philadelphia this season, with just one of those goals coming at even strength. The Flyers are outscoring the Rangers 5-1 at even strength.

Team Scope

Philadelphia Flyers:

The Flyers enter this game on a four game win streak, as well as a six game win streak on home ice dating back to December 15th. Jakub Voracek leads the team with nine points (2-7-9) in that span, while Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds each have four goals. They also have gone 8-1-3 at the Wells Fargo Center since November 17. Against the Rangers, the Flyers have won five of the last six meetings at home.

The Rangers will want look out for Wayne Simmonds today, because he typically has the Rangers’ number. In just two games this season against New York, he has four points (2-2-4), a plus-4 rating and eight shots on goal. He has 10 goals and 17 points in 25 career games against the Blueshirts, and Philadelphia is 9-0-0 when he scores a goal. He’s physical, he’s a net-front presence, and an agitator.

Sean Couturier is known primarily for his excellent defensive play as one of the league’s better defensive centers and a strong penalty killer. But he’s turned into an offensive weapon for the Flyers lately, scoring three goals and five points during their four game win streak. He’s also tallied 12 points (6-6-12) in the last 11 games. He’s third on the team with nine goals and fifth with 20 points, and he leads the team with a +8 rating.

New York Rangers:

The Rangers have been struggling for quite some time now. They’ve won just seven of the last 22 games, and they’ve failed to win consecutive games in nearly two months. They’re in the midst of a three game road trip, and they’ve really struggled on the road too, dropping 10 of their last 11 games away from MSG (1-8-2), including the game against the Islanders.

Henrik Lundqvist will start his 11th straight game for the Rangers, and he’s been playing much better lately. He made some spectacular saves against the Islanders and did everything he could to give his team a win. He was even better against Boston, allowing one goal on 33 shots for his 19th win. Lundqvist is looking for his 20th win of the season, which would give him 11 consecutive 20 win seasons to start his career, the only goaltender in NHL history to do so. Against the Flyers, he has a 28-13-4 record in 47 career appearances, but in his last 18 appearances since March 6, 2011, he has posted a 14-3-1 record with a 1.83 GAA and a .941 save percentage.

JT Miller is one of two Rangers to score against the Flyers this season, and he’s been one of the team’s best players on the road this season. Miller leads the team in points (14), is tied for the team lead in assists (eight), and tied for second on the team in goals (six) on the road this season.

Kevin Hayes had a good game against the Islanders apart from a terrible turnover that led directly to Brock Nelson’s goal. It’s been a weird season for him coming off of a fantastic rookie season. His play has been inconsistent, but the talent level is definitely there, evident by his no look, spinning pass to set up Marc Staal’s goal. Hayes has three points (1-2-3) in four games since being scratched, so his production could be on the rise. I really like the line he is on with Lindberg and Fast, because it gives him some pretty quick wingers with good hands, but they’re also very responsible defensively.

Wrap-Up

The Rangers and the Flyers will face off at the Wells Fargo Center at 1 PM. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

TODAY’S LINEUP

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

JT Miller-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Oscar Lindberg-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Viktor Stalberg

Ryan McDonagh-Kevin Klein

Keith Yandle-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on January 16, 2016, in Game Previews, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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