Good Morning New York Rangers fans! Today the Rangers travel to the Wells Fargo Center to take on long-time rival Philadelphia Flyers in a very important division match.
Puck drop for the third meeting of the season between these two teams is set for 1pm, and can be found on MSG networks. The season series at this point is split, with the Flyers winning the first meeting 2-1 on October 24th at the Wells Fargo Center, and the Rangers winning 4-1 on January 12th at Madison Square Garden.
Coming into this game, the Rangers are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, and 33-24-3 overall, including Thursday night’s 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Flyers are coming into this game 5-5-0 in their last 10 and 30-24-6 overall, including a 7-3 thrashing by the San Jose Sharks in Philadelphia on Thursday. Heading into the first game of a crucial back to back for the Rangers, Coach Alain Vigneault has decided to give the nod to Henrik Lundqvist after allowing him an extra night off on Thursday. Lundqvist is coming off a remarkable Olympic performance in which he carried team Sweden all the way to a silver medal. He enters today’s game with five wins in as many games and a 1.77 goals against average and a .940 save percentage in that time span. Of course, the Rangers will rely on their defense also, most notably their top defensive pairing of Ryan McDonagh and his partner Dan Girardi who yesterday signed a six year, 33 million dollar contract extension with the Rangers. Being without leading scorer Mats Zuccarello the Rangers have called on youngster JT Miller to fill in his place, he performed very well under pressure and tallied an assist in the victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Rangers need two of their hottest players as of late to keep the strong play going if they want to keep their hold on second place in the division, those two players are Derick Brassard, and Rick Nash. Brassard enters the game with a seven game points scoring streak having registered nine points in those seven games. Nash has become the Rangers number one scorer, and has scored eight goals in 13 games and has stepped up and filled in the role of the team’s top offensive threat.
The Philidelphia Flyers, who sit three points behind the Rangers in third place in the Metropolitan Division are looking to pick up two points in today’s game and move within one point of the second seeded Rangers. Although it has yet to be announced, it is assumed that the Flyers will start goaltender Steve Mason, who has won three games in his last five. In order to win this game today, the Flyers will look to their top scorers; Wayne Simmonds who has five points in as many games, and captain Claude Giroux who has seven points in the last five games. The Flyers will look for some blue line help from defenseman Mark Streit, who had the lone Flyers goal in their 4-1 loss to the Rangers in January.
If the Rangers want to win their game today, what they need to do is come out with a quick start against a weak Flyers defense and shaky goaltending provided by Mason. Their last game against the Flyers a quick start is what carried the Rangers to victory, and the case can be exactly the same today. That’s all for now, Let’s Go Rangers!