Tonight the New York Rangers host the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm
The Rangers are presently 23-20-3 with 49 points for fourth in the Metropolitan Division. Henrik Lundqvist is back in the net tonight against the Flyers. In his last five games Lundqvist has allowed 13 goals and has claimed three wins in that span. Thus far this season Lundqvist has posted 2.73 goals against average and .908 save percentage. The Rangers seem to have found their groove recently and Lundqvist is no exception. The team has played more cohesively and stronger than we have seen all season. Rick Nash has slowly made his way back onto the score sheet with four goals for six points in the last 10 games; for 19 total points in his 29 games this season. Surprisingly, Nash maintains a .7 point per game average. Brad Richards has moved back into the points lead, with 11 goals for 33 points, over Mats Zuccarello who has 11 goals for 32 points. Also with 11 goals are Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider. Ryan McDonagh continues to lead the offensive efforts of the team’s defense with seven goals for 25 points. Dan Girardi is second with three goals for 12 points. Based on points per game average Michale Del Zotto’s two goals for 10 points is equal to Girardi’s .3 points per game average based on number of games played. The physical play of the Rangers has really started to become prominent. Girardi has upped his tally of hits to 11 while Kreider remains close behind with 101. Brian Boyle continues to show his progress on the season with 88 hits, and Ryan Callahan is still up there with 81 despite missing time with injuries. Girardi continue to lead the team in blocks by a large margin with 79 and 73 respectively. The team average for face-off wins is 49.5% this season. Boyle leads the team in face-off win percentage in players with more than 40 attempts, with 55.8%, while Dominic Moore boasts 54.3% of wins from inside the circle. The Rangers need for the guys to all play together the way they have been and maybe a little more from Kreider again. This is not the same Flyers’ team we saw earlier in the year.
In third place of the Metropolitan Division with 50 points a 23-18-4 record are the Flyers. Tonight’s match-up will have Ray Emery staring in goal. Emery has a 5-7 record this season with 2.86 goals against average and an .897 save percentage. Emery has seen only 82 minutes of playing time in January, behind Steve Mason. Claude Giroux leads the Flyers with 28 assists and 41 points while Wayne Simmonds leads the team in goals with 15 goals for 30 points. Simmonds is also no stranger to fights or the penalty box. Some of the biggest hitters on the Flyers are Zac Rinaldo (135), Luke Schenn (133), Nicklas Grossman (106), and Brayden Schenn (98). Rinaldo also leads the team with penalties in minutes with 101. Jay Rosehill is another player who will not think twice before dropping mitts with anyone.
The Flyers have made as much of a turnaround as the Rangers this season, maybe more. Look for the Flyers to finish their checks, play hard, and even get into some shoving matches after the whistle. A Rangers win tonight, preceded by a Sabres Win this afternoon will put the Rangers in second place of the division. There is no love between these teams or the fans, as noted by Lundqvist today via the Official New York Rangers’ Twitter account:
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 12, 2014
You may or may not remember this battle from a few years ago, but this is where I will leave you until the game starts: