Three points are all that separate the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers. Saturday afternoon, the orange and black will either tighten the gap or allow the Rangers to garner a slight cushion.
The Rangers are 7-3 in their last ten while the Flyers are an even 5-5. Saturday is the beginning of a crucial stretch of division play for the Flyers. Six of their next seven games will be Metropolitan Division foes.
The Flyers are 1-1 against the Rangers this season. They won the first contest 2-1 at the Wells Fargo Center and lost the second game 4-1 at Madison Square Garden.
Steve Mason will get the start. He is coming off a rough game where the defense did very little to help him. Mason is 23-15-5 with a 2.55 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. In four games against the Rangers, he is 3-0-1 with a 2.48 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.
Mason will be opposed by Henrik Lundqvist. He is 22-18-3 with a 2.44 goals against average and a .918 save percentage. He has won his last five starts. Against the Flyers, he is 26-12-3 with a 2.49 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.
Claude Giroux will need to step up for the Flyers during this game. He was all but invisible during the Flyers’ last game against the Rangers.
The defensive unit has to tighten up as well. Their defeat at the hand of the San Jose Sharks was the fifth time this season they have lost by four or more goals.
Each and every one of the Flyers know how important these division games can be, Saturday will be the time to show how desperately they want a playoff spot.