In what would normally be billed as a marquee match-up between east powerhouses the Flyers and Rangers will enter Tuesday’s game as two teams struggling to find their way.
John Tortorella’s Rangers were a sexy pick to represent the east in the Stanley Cup Finals but find themselves clinging to the 8th seed while the Flyers are currently 13th and five points behind the Rangers. Both clubs enter Tuesday’s game at Wells Fargo Center (7:30 PM CSN-PH;NBCSN) having lost two straight games. For the Flyers it’s the start of a five game home stretch and for the Rangers it’s the first of a three game road swing.The Rangers are holding a 2-1 season series edge with both wins coming at Madison Square Garden.
On Sunday night in Pittsburgh the Flyers fell just short in a game where they played well enough to win. Claude Giroux netted a power play goal past the halfway mark of regulation and it looked as if Peter Laviolette had pushed all the right buttons. Two penalties 23 seconds apart in the third period gave the Penguins a 5 against 3 power play in which Sidney Crosby blasted a one-time shot past Ilya Bryzgalov to tie the score, Tyler “Flyers Killer” Kennedy then roofed a shot in overtime to give Pittsburgh their 12th straight victory. For much of the game though the Flyers were able to keep the Penguins offensive attack at bay by getting pucks out of the defensive zone quickly. The Penguins also had some difficulty getting through the neutral zone which was a noticeable improvement on the Flyers end to keep the checking tight. Ilya Bryzgalov also had one of his finest performances of the season in the tough luck loss.
While the Penguins are known for their offense the Rangers well…um…they don’t score many goals. In fact the blue-shirts are dead last in the Eastern Conference (and 29th of 30 in the NHL) with only 73 goals scored. Despite the enigmatic goal scoring numbers, Henrik Lundqvist and good overall team defense has kept the goal differential to just a -3 allowing 76 goals. Only four teams have allowed less goals than the Rangers (Boston, Chicago, Minnesota, Ottawa).
A season after scoring 41 times, Rangers star winger Marian Gaborik has struggled mightily in 2013 netting just nine goals in 31 games thus far. Gaborik has just three goals in his last 19 games but he’s a player who can bust out and score two or three goals in the blink of an eye. Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan also have nine tallies for the goal starved Rangers. Rick Nash, NYR’s prized off-season acquisition, is not surprisingly leading the way offensively but his 25 points (10 goals) have been less than stellar. If the Flyers can score three goals or more things will look pretty good for the orange sweaters. In their three meetings so far this season the Flyers and Rangers each won games by a 2-1 score on their respective home ices. New York scored four times en route to 4-2 victory in the teams last meeting back on March 5th.
Keys to Victory
Get the first goal and get it early to make the Rangers chase the game.
Jam the crease by getting as many shots as possible at Lundqvist.
Continue strong defensive play from Sunday
Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start again for Philadelphia and they’ll need him to be as good or better than he was Sunday night in Pittsburgh despite the Rangers goal scoring woes.
Danny Briere is out indefinitely with a concussion.
Nicklas Grossmann is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury
Flyers recalled Tye McGinn from the Phantoms and he should be in the lineup against the Rangers.
You can read more about the injuries, McGinn, and Danny Briere right here.
Bobby Ryan to Flyers rumor will not die
Get Flyers tickets Tuesday night right here!