Flyers-Rangers: Game 50 Preview

Flyers look to keep rolling as they host Rangers

With the Flyers now riding a three-game winning streak, everything seemed to be off to a flying start out of the All-Star break with back-to-back wins, Thursday's coming by a decisive 6-3 score. But the Flyers lost their best defensive forward in Sean Couturier again, this time for four weeks, just in time for a brutal back-to-back weekend of games.

It starts with the New York Rangers, who currently hold the second spot in the Metropolitan Division and are ahead of the Flyers by seven points.

The Flyers have had good success against the Rangers this season, claiming the first two games and nearly taking the third as well if not for Henrik Lundqvist and the shootout.

The Flyers and Rangers are set to faceoff starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday from Wells Fargo Center.

Flyers Leaders GP G A P Canadiens Leaders GP G A P
Claude Giroux 49 16 27 43 Derick Brassard 50 18 21 39
Jake Voracek 49 8 33 41 Mats Zuccarello 51 18 19 37
Wayne Simmonds 49 18 16 34 Rick Nash 45 12 21 33
Brayden Schenn 47 14 15 29 J.T. Miller 51 16 13 29
Shayne Gostisbehere 31 8 16 24 Keith Yandle 51 3 24 27
Player to Watch
17 Wayne Simmonds 10 J.T. Miller
Last 5 Games: 6 G, 3 A, 9 P, +3 Last 5 Games: 6 G, 1 A, 7 P, +7
You could really pick anyone on the top line, especially after Thursday's win, but the obvious pick is Wayne Simmonds, who has been a goal-scoring machine of late. Simmonds six goals in five games has him leading the team with 18.
J.T. Miller has been among the most consistent Rangers on the season. Now up to 16 goals on the season after a recent scoring barrage, the Flyers need to keep the forward in check after a very successful stretch of games. 
Goalie Matchup
35 Steve Mason 30 Henrik Lundqvist
12-12-6, 2.71 GAA, .916 SV% 24-14-4, 2.42 GAA, .920 SV%

Steve Mason makes his third straight start as the Flyers go for their fourth straight win. Despite allowing 14 goals in his last five games, Mason has really been excellent, making at least 29 saves in each of the last five games and combining for 67 saves on 72 shots in the last two games.

The Flyers were able to solve Lundqvist in a shootout win in October, but Hank stole the show in the team's last meeting in January. Facing Lundqvist is always a challenge, but the Flyers did find a way to beat Pekka Rinne six times on Thursday. Anything goes on any day. The Flyers just need to hope it's not Lundqvist's day again.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Scratches: Jordan Weal, R.J. Umberger, Brandon Manning, Michal Neuvirth, Sean Couturier

Left Wing Center Right Wing
93 Jake Voracek 28 Claude Giroux 17 Wayne Simmonds
89 Sam Gagner 52 Nick Cousins 10 Brayden Schenn
76 Chris VandeVelde 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 25 Ryan White
12 Michael Raffl 21 Scott Laughton 24 Matt Read
15 Michael Del Zotto 53 Shayne Gostisbehere  
55 Nick Schultz 32 Mark Streit  
82 Evgeny Medvedev 3 Radko Gudas  
35 Steve Mason    

Couturier's injury forces him out of the lineup again and with Nick Cousins called up, expect most of the lineup to remain the same. R.J. Umberger and Jordan Weal are expected to be scratched again while Cousins simply slots into Couturier's second-line spot with Sam Gagner and Brayden Schenn.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (15th, 25th at home), Rangers (T-26th, 25th on road)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (T-25th, 24th at home), Rangers (T-25th, 30th on road) 
  • Recent History vs. Rangers
    • Jan. 16, 2016 - The Rangers took a 3-2 win in a shootout in Philadelphia. Brayden Schenn scored early for the Flyers before J.T. Miller tied things up late in the first. The Rangers went ahead on a goal by Chris Kreider in the second before the Flyer tied things up with a power play goal by Wayne Simmonds midway through the third. Mats Zuccarello scored the only goal of the shootout to seal the win. Steve Mason made 29 saves in the loss.
    • Nov. 28, 2015 - The Flyers picked up a 3-0 win in New York. Wayne Simmonds scored midway through the second and Sean Couturier tallied early in the third. Simmonds would ice the game with an empty-netter late as Steve Mason made 24 saves in a shutout win.
    • Oct. 24, 2015 - The Flyers claimed a 3-2 shootout win at home. Mark Streit opened the scoring midway through the first before J.T. Miller evened things up just over two minutes later. Scott Laughton gave the Flyers the lead early in the second before Derick Brassard tied things up less than two minutes later again. Sam Gagner and Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers in the shootout as Steve Mason made 37 saves in regulation and another two in the shootout.
  • Flyers leaders vs. Rangers
    • Claude Giroux - 39 games, 6 goals, 26 assists, 32 points
    • Jake Voracek – 25 games, 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points 
    • Wayne Simmonds – 26 games, 11 goals, 7 assists, 18 points 
    • Steve Mason - 13 games, 7-3-2, 2.16 GAA, .934 Sv% 
  • Milestone Watch
    • Mark Streit: 5 points to reach 400 for career
    • Jake Voracek: 7 goals to reach 100 as a Flyer

Where to Watch
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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