When: Saturday, November 26th, 2:00 PM
Opponent: Philadelphia Flyers (13-6-3)
TV: MSG, NHL Network
The Rangers and Flyers face off tomorrow afternoon at Madison Square Garden for a preview of what’s to come in the Winter Classic. It will be the first game of the season between the familiar foes.
Both rivals were in action on Friday and will be looking to build on their latest victories with another two points.
The Blueshirts defeated the struggling Capitals 6-3 in convincing style at the Verizon Center. Although the Caps showed moments of hope where the momentum could have swung back in their favor after Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin scored, the Rangers never backed down. After only scoring one goal in their last two losses, the Rangers’ season high six goal output was just what the doctor ordered.
Derek Stepan continued to click with linemates Artem Anisimov (1 G, 1A) and Marian Gaborik (1 G) who started the Rangers offensive surge in the second period. Secondary scoring from power forwards and grinders which had been absent of late was also a positive. Ruslan Fedotenko scored two goals while Brian Boyle scored his second of the season. Ryan Callahan’s chipper forecheck and opportune dishes gave him first star of the game honors with three assists.
Rookies Carl Hagelin and John Mitchell brought some new life to the grit line in their NHL debut with Erik Christensen out as a healthy scratch and Andre Deveaux being suspended. Both Hagelin and Mitchell notched assists in their first game up after being recalled from the Connecticut Whale on Thursday.
The Flyers could also be riding into New York on a wave of momentum after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Friday afternoon. The Flyers’ and NHL’s first quarter powerhouse Claude Giroux had two goals and an assist in the win. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 23 of 24 shots in his second straight victory.
The Broad Street Bullies will enter the Garden without some key players though. Forward James van Riemsdyk (1-2 weeks, upper-body) and defenseman Andreas Lilja (six weeks, high ankle sprain) were injured during the Canadiens game. Winger Jaromir Jagr, who’s third on the team in points (17) and part of the successful Giroux and Scott Hartnell line, won’t be back in action either. The former Rangers’ captain aggravated a groin injury he suffered last week after returning to the lineup too soon on Wednesday. Flyers’ captain and blueline protector Chris Pronger also won’t make the trip to New York after missing the last three games with a virus.
If Rangers’ coach John Tortorella’s latest line concoctions continue to click, the Rangers’ could win their sixth straight game at home. Only four points separate the Rangers from the first place Flyers.