With the Philadelphia Flyers' hold on a playoff spot fading, the Orange and Black will need a win over their rivals, the New York Rangers.
The Philadelphia Flyers' recent slump has made their playoff positioning a bit tenuous. If they are to qualify for the postseason, they must win games against nonplayoff teams like their opponents tonight in the New York Rangers as the rivals clash at the Wells Fargo Center with puck drop set for just after 7.
The Flyers sit in the top wild card spot after the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated these very same Rangers on Tuesday with Philadelphia dropping their contest against the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout. The Orange and Black are in the dubious position of being five points out of first place in their division and five points away from being out of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Rangers face zero pressure in tonight's game. The Blueshirts will not be making the playoffs and sold off players like Michael Grabner, Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash at or near the NHL trade deadline. This current crop of Rangers are going to play loose as they have for the past month. The result has been a troublesome spoiler team with players like Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich playing their best hockey of the season.
However, the Rangers still are without some veteran defensemen. If the Flyers are to come away with a win tonight, they will have to take advantage of the young, inexperienced defenders New York will ice.
|Philadelphia Flyers||GP||G||A||P||New York Rangers||GP||G||A||P|
|Claude Giroux||74||26||61||87||Mats Zuccarello||72||15||34||49|
|Jake Voracek||74||18||61||79||Mika Zibanejad||63||25||18||43|
|Sean Couturier||74||30||40||70||Pavel Buchnevich||65||14||28||42|
|Shayne Gostisbehere||70||13||42||55||Kevin Hayes||67||21||16||37|
|Wayne Simmonds||67||23||20||43||Chris Kreider||49||14||19||33|
|Player to Watch|
|14 Sean Couturier||93 Mika Zibanejad|
|Last 5 Games: 1 G, 6 A, 7 P, 4||Last 5 Games: 6 G, 3 A, 9 P, +3|
|49 Alex Lyon||40 Alexandar Georgiev|
|3-2-1, 2.24 GAA, .914 SV%||3-2-1, 2.94 GAA, .922 SV%|
When the Flyers acquired Petr Mrazek it was known that the Czech goaltender had issues remaining consistent. In his short time wearing the Orange and Black, Mrazek has been at times spectacular and other times dreadful. Since his arrival in late February, Mrazek has put together three outings with save percentages over .900. Couple that with the strong play of Alex Lyon of late, and the Yale alum will get the start against the Rangers tonight. In nine NHL appearances, Lyon only has three games where he recorded a save percentage below .900. Lyon has been tasked with mop-up duty and performed well in that role but has also played very well in the games he started. Even in a losing effort to the Bruins, Lyon was solid and look to remain the more consistent goaltender left at the team's disposal.
Henrik Lundqvist has been feast or famine against the Flyers this season and took a scary hit against Columbus on Tuesday night so Philadelphia will be introduced to Alexandar Georgiev. The young goaltender has been rock solid for the Rangers since joining the team. In his seven appearances, of which there are six starts, he has only two outings with save percentages lower than .900. During that stretch, Georgiev has faced 37 or more shots five times so the rookie is seeing plenty of action. Georgiev is quite capable of stealing a game this early in his career as he has stymied the likes of Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers during his time in the NHL.
Flyers Projected Lineup
Injuries: Michael Raffl is out for two weeks with an upper-body injury. Brian Elliott is recovering from core muscle surgery and is nearing the end of his five-to-six weeks recovery time. Michal Neuvirth is out four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury. Johnny Oduya is out with a lower-body injury and his recovery time is uncertain.
Scratches: Dale Weise, Taylor Leier, Robert Hagg
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|28 Claude Giroux||14 Sean Couturier||11 Travis Konecny|
|54 Oskar Lindblom||19 Nolan Patrick||93 Jake Voracek|
|40 Jordan Weal||51 Valtteri Filppula||17 Wayne Simmonds|
|15 Jori Lehtera||21 Scott Laughton||24 Matt Read|
|9 Ivan Provorov||53 Shayne Gostisbehere|
|23 Brandon Manning||3 Radko Gudas|
|6 Travis Sanheim||47 Andrew MacDonald|
|49 Alex Lyon|
Lineup Notes: It is being speculated that Hagg's scratch has something to do with returning from injury early. Though, comments from head coach Dave Hakstol imply more that the move is about chemistry.
Rangers Projected LineupInjuries: Kevin Shattenkirk is out with a torn meniscus, however, is due back in the lineup soon. Ondrej Pavelec is recovering from a sprained MCL and is also due back in the Rangers lineup soon. Steven Kampfer is suffering from a fractured hand but is nearing the end of his four-to-six week recovery timeframe. Anthony DeAngelo is out for three to four weeks with a left ankle sprain.
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|20 Chris Kreider||93 Mika Zibanejad||17 Jesper Fast|
|23 Ryan Spooner||13 Kevin Hayes||36 Mats Zuccarello|
|26 Jimmy Vesey||90 Vladimir Namestnikov||89 Pavel Buchnevich|
|8 Cody McLeod||51 David Desharnais||28 Paul Carey|
|18 Marc Staal||44 Neal Pionk|
|76 Brady Skjei||25 Ryan Sproul|
|46 Rob O'Gara||58 John Gilmour|
|40 Alexandar Georgiev|
- Power Play: Flyers (17th, 23rd at home), Rangers (7th, 9th on road)
- Penalty Kill: Flyers (27th, 29th at home), Rangers (7th, 8th on road)
- Recent History vs. Rangers
- Feb. 18, 2018 - Flyers 7, Rangers 4 (at NYR)
- Jan. 16, 2018 - Rangers 5, Flyers 1 (at NYR)
- April 2, 2018 - Rangers 4, Flyers 3 (at NYR)
- Milestone Watch
- Jake Voracek is one assist away from 300 as a Flyer and six assists away from 400 in his career.
- Valtteri Filppula is six assists away from 300 in his career.
- Claude Giroux is seven assists away from matching Bill Barber's 463 total for third in franchise history.
Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Radio: 93.3 WMMR