Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers- Gameday

Time: 8:00 p.m.

Location: Madison Square Garden

Tonight, for the first time since the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, the New York Rangers will renew their rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers.  Both teams have had their struggles this season, but they will look to turn it around with a little extra motivation in this Wednesday Night Rivalry.  Here’s what to look for tonight:

Cam Talbot gets the nod for the Rangers

After Henrik Lundqvist gave up five goals on Monday against Tampa Bay, Cam Talbot will man the net for the Rangers tonight.  Talbot has not had the start he wanted, as he has not won in his first two stars.  That is mainly to rust, as Lundqvist has started every other game.  He’ll have a tough matchup, as the Flyers rank third in the NHL in scoring.  However, they are a .500 team, so he was a viable candidate to start anyway.  Hopefully, for Rangers fans, the “Goalbuster” can get back on track.  Head Coach Alain Vigneault has said multiple times that he wants to limit Lundqvist’s work load, and he can’t do that if Talbot does not play up to his potential.  The Rangers need him to get off to a good start tonight.

Big Injuries for Both Teams

Injuries are a part of hockey, and there is no way that you can escape them.  For the Rangers, Ryan McDonagh and Lee Stempniak will both sit out due to injury.  McDonagh still has a separated shoulder, and he is about a week or two away from returning.  Meanwhile, Stempniak is dealing with tightness in his lower back, and he is day-to-day.  Jesper Fast will return to the lineup to fill in Stempniak.

For the Flyers, Claude Giroux, Michael Raffl, and Andrew MacDonald are expected to sit tonight.  Giroux suffered a lower-body injury during practice on Monday and is day to day.  Raffl is out at least another four weeks with a lower-body injury as well, and MacDonald practiced on Monday, but is expected to sit out one more game.  Luke Schenn was out due to an upper-body injury, but is expected to take the ice tonight.

The Return of Michael Del Zotto

We have another return tonight! For the first time since the trade that sent him to Nashville, Michael Del Zotto will return to Madison Square Garden.  The 24 year-old defenseman had a good four and a half years with the Rangers, even though he was very inconsistent.  He was expected to thrive under AV, but he never quite got going.  So, the Rangers dealt him away.  Now, as a member of the Flyers, Del Zotto will return as an enemy.  While he was inconsistent with the Rangers, Del Zotto seems to have found his footing a bit in Philadelphia, scoring eight points in 16 games so far.  He’s on the top power play unit, so head coach Craig Berube has a lot of faith in the young defenseman.

Players to Watch For

Jakub Voracek is an absolute freak.  He has 26 points in 16 games, and is leading the league in assists.  It’s not just because he plays alongside of Claude Giroux, however.  Voracek is a great playmaker who has great vision on the ice.  He is following up the success he had last year, so the Rangers defensemen better keep a close eye on him whenever he is out on the ice.

For the Rangers, Kevin Hayes seems to be progressing very nicely at the center position.  At the start of the season, he seemed lost in the faceoff circle, and usually did not get much ice time in third periods.  Now he doesn’t have the points to show it, but he seems to be much less patient with the puck.  At the start, he seemed to wait too long to shoot, often looking for a better shot.  Now, whenever he doesn’t see a pass or a move he can make, he throws it towards the net.  It’s those little plays that help you stay in the league.  Look for him to have an impact tonight.