Rangers @ Flyers
Saturday, 1:00 p.m.
Wells Fargo Center
Rangers record: 20-13-1
Flyers record: 21-7-5
The Rangers have a day off following their dazzling back-to-back comeback wins before taking on the Philadelphia Flyers for a Saturday matinee. The Flyers sit comfortably atop the league with 47 points, and are currently riding a four-game winning streak. The Rangers had the Flyers to thank on Wednesday when they went up against the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins; the Flyers had snapped the Penguins’ twelve-game winning streak the day before, leaving the Pens right where the Rangers wanted them.
The Flyers have been steady all season since claiming the Eastern Conference champions’ title last year. Ex-Ranger Nik Zherdev is starting to click with linemates Jeff Carter and James van Riemsdyk , and he has four points in his past four games. In the Flyers’ last game against Montreal, this line combined for four of the team’s five goals to come away with the 5-3 win. Flyers’ veteran defenseman and perennial pest Chris Pronger injured his ankle in this game and won’t be playing against the Rangers on Saturday. (He underwent surgery and will be out 4-6 weeks.) Pronger scored a key power play goal for the Flyers in the last matchup between these two teams, and another former Blueshirt, the hardworking Blair Betts, scored the game winning goal. Right wing Claude Giroux has been hot recently, tying Danny Briere for a team high 16 goals. Giroux has been turning heads with his level of play, and he is second in the league with a 22.5% shooting percentage.
What more can be said about your New York Rangers? This team battles, and they battle hard. Even with the crushing loss of Ryan Callahan, and on a night when Brandon Dubinsky, Marian Gaborik, and the still snake bitten Alex Frolov failed to register a point, the Blueshirts still managed to pull out with the win thanks to the hard work of players like Brandon Prust, who scored his NHL-leading fifth short-handed point last night. Captain Chris Drury also made a huge impact in the game, setting up Derek Stepan’s game tying goal for his first point in his second game back in the lineup.
Because Rangers’ enforcer Derek Boogaard is still unable to play due to an injured shoulder, the team opted to recall forward Dale Weise from Connecticut. Although Tortorella previously mentioned that there would be no call-up in place of Callahan, he admits the need for a more physical presence against the tough Philadelphia Flyers. Weise will most likely skate on the fourth line in tomorrow’s game.
Saturday marks the second meeting this season between these two rivals. In the first matchup, on November 4th, the Flyers embarrassed the Rangers with a 4-1 defeat. The Blueshirts are on a three-game winning streak, but have yet to snag that fourth win in a row this season. Having lost their last game against the Flyers, the Rangers also have yet to take revenge for that bitter season-ending shootout loss last year. If the team can play with the determination and grit that we’ve come to expect from them, coming home from Philly with that elusive fourth win should be a cinch.