Upcoming games: @ Flyers, April 3, 7:00 p.m.; @ Penguins, April 5, 7:00 p.m.; Capitals, April 7, 6:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Flyers (101 points, 5th place, 46-24-9)
The Rangers can sweep the season series 6-0 and take their overall victory streak over Philadelphia to eight straight if they defeat the Flyers on Tuesday. Captain Ryan Callahan scored three goals in the Rangers 5-2 victory over the Flyers back on February 11. Though Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov missed the last two games of the month due to a foot fracture, he was on fire the month of March and named the NHL’s star of the month. He went 10-2-1 which included four shutouts with a 1.43 goals-against average. He is expected to be back in net soon. The Flyers won a heated match against their other Atlantic rival Penguins 6-4 on Sunday. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 43 shots while the team overcame a 2-0 deficit. Some questionable cross checks, hits and checking line melee even got coaches Peter Laviolette and Dan Bylsma verbally duking it out while standing atop the benches. Danny Briere will be out indefinitely with an upper back contusion and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will be out 7-10 days with a lower body injury.
Pittsburgh Penguins (102 points, 4th place, 48-25-6)
The Rangers are 2-3 against the Penguins this season. This will be the final meeting of the season between the two powerhouses jockeying for first place which the Rangers have had a stronghold on. Matt Cooke scored two goals as the Pens beat the Rangers 5-2 back on March 15. Center Evgeni Malkin was named the NHL’s second star of the month of March thanks to his 11 goals and 12 assists in 15 games. Malkin leads his team and the league with 104 points. Marc-Andre Fleury has lost his last three starts and allowed a total of 14 goals in that span. Captain Sidney Crosby has 19 points in 11 games since his return to the lineup on March 15. The Penguins are 5-4-1 in their last ten games.
Washington Capitals (88 points, 8th place, 40-31-8)
The Rangers are 2-1 against the Capitals this season. Three different Rangers scored a goal a period to win 3-2 against the Caps on February 12. The Capitals are looking to clinch the eighth and final playoff spot. They have a two point lead over the Buffalo Sabres. They’ve won their last two games and are 5-3-2 over their last ten. They beat the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday which pulled them to within two points of the Florida Panthers for first place in the Southeast Division. Michal Neuvirth made 41 saves. Center Nicklas Backstrom returned to the lineup after missing 40 games with a concussion. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun is expected to miss the rest of the season and possibly the playoffs after a groin injury suffered in a shootout victory last Thursday. Alex Ovechkin has three goals and six points in his last five games.