The Philadelphia Flyers will take on the New York Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden. The game will begin at 8:00pm and will be televised on NBC Sports Network.
This game is the NBC Sports Network’s rivalry game of the week, and for good reason. The Flyers and Rangers do not like one another and they are locked into a tight playoff race going down the stretch. The winner of tonight’s game will be in second place in the Metropolitan Division. While the Flyers put together five straight wins against the top teams in the NHL last week, the Rangers were quietly nipping at their heels and have now won four straight games.
If the playoff started right now, the Flyers and Rangers would meet, and with the space they have created for themselves, a first round match up looks more and more likely. Although the Rangers have had the Flyers number in recent years, these are not the same Rangers, or the same Flyers for that matter.
Flyers fans have become accustomed to watching John Tortorella coached Rangers teams suffocate Peter Laviolette coached Flyers teams. However, this season the Flyers play a much more defensively tight style while the Rangers play a more wide open game. Through the first three meetings of the season the Flyers are 2-1. NHL.com has a great article on the new coaches of each team, I highly recommend reading it prior to tonight’s game.
If the Flyers wish to reclaim the second spot in the Metropolitan Division tonight they will need to get back to what they did against the Penguins and Blackhawks. The Flyers tried to beat the Kings on Monday night by only showing up for the final 20 minutes. The Flyers will need a full 60 minute effort against the Rangers in order to earn two points.
Steve Mason will start tonight against Henrik Lundqvist. Mason has won his last four starts and has only allowed six goals in that span. When going up against (arguably) the best goalie in the world, Mason will need to be solid. On the season Mason is 30-16-6 with a SV% of .916 and a GAA of 2.53.
Odds and Ends:
-Tye McGinn will play again tonight while Steve Downie recuperates from his upper body injury. Chris Kreider is out for the Rangers with a hand injury.
-This game will be the first time the Flyers face Martin St. Louis as a member of the Rangers.
-Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh is on a four game point streak. He has 2 goals and 4 assists in that span.
-Claude Giroux did not register a point on Monday. He has not gone two straight games without a point since 12/31/13-1/2/14.