(SportsNetwork.com) – A pair of Metropolitan Division rivals will try to halt
losing streaks on Wednesday, as the New York Rangers host the Philadelphia
Flyers in a clash at Madison Square Garden.
The Flyers enter their first meeting with the Rangers this season on a two-
game slide, losing both in regulation, while New York has dropped three in a
row but has earned a point from two shootout losses during that span.
Wednesday’s clash is the first encounter between the clubs since the Rangers
beat Philadelphia 2-1 in a Game 7 at MSG on April 30. After taking that
opening round series, New York went on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the
first time since 1994, although it lost in five games to Los Angeles.
The Rangers have claimed five of eight and 13 of the past 17 regular-season
meetings with Philadelphia and New York has claimed eight straight in the Big
Apple over that stretch.
The Flyers also will be facing New York tonight without captain Claude Giroux.
Philadelphia’s top centerman missed practice Tuesday with a lower-body injury
and was ruled out for tonight’s game in Manhattan later in the day.
Philadelphia recalled young centerman Scott Laughton from its AHL affiliate,
the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Laughton, the 20th overall pick of the 2012 draft,
is leading the Phantoms with six goals and is tied for the team lead with 11
points. He has yet to record a point in five games at the NHL level.
Defensemen Andrew MacDonald (knee) and Luke Schenn (shoulder) are also
questionable for Philadelphia. MacDonald has missed the last nine games, while
Schenn has missed the last two.
New York dropped consecutive shootout decisions against Colorado and
Pittsburgh before getting slammed 5-1 on Monday by Ryan Callahan and the
visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. Callahan, a former Rangers captain, scored two
goals to lead the rout.
Callahan, along with fellow teammates Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman, played
against their former Rangers team for the first time. Callahan was dealt to
the Lightning at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Martin St.
Louis, who also was Tampa’s captain at the time of the deal.
“It’s tough coming back here and there was a range of emotions,” said
Callahan. “I was captain of this team for 2 1/2 years and played here for
eight. The Rangers are a class organization.”
New York will welcome another ex-Ranger to MSG tonight, as Flyers defenseman
Michael Del Zotto is facing the Blueshirts for the first time since getting
dealt to Nashville last January. The 24-year-old Del Zotto, a former Rangers
first-round pick, has two goals and six assists in 16 games for Philadelphia
St. Louis, the Lightning’s all-time leading point producer, had the only goal
of the game for the Rangers against Tampa. Monday’s tilt also marked his first
time facing the Lightning since the trade.
“This was a tough loss, a tough nut,” said St. Louis. “It’s mostly because of
the way we played. We didn’t play anywhere close to the way we have to play to
give ourselves a chance.”
Henrik Lundqvist allowed all five goals on 30 shots in the loss, which dropped
the reigning Eastern Conference champions to 5-4-3 on home ice. The Rangers
are capping a brief two-game road trip tonight before visiting Buffalo on
New York is just 2-3-4 in November and will try to avoid its first four-game
losing streak since an 0-3-1 skid from Dec. 7-12 of last season.
The Flyers, meanwhile, have lost two in a row on the heels of a three-game
winning streak. Philadelphia dropped a 4-3 decision to visiting Columbus on
Friday and was handed a 6-3 loss the following night in Montreal.
P.A. Parenteau and Dale Weise each registered a pair of goals to lead the Habs
to the easy win over the Flyers. Philadelphia was down 2-0 before the midway
point of the opening period and trailed by three goals before finally getting
one past Montreal goaltender Carey Price late in the second stanza.
“When a team scores like that early, it takes the momentum away from the
guys,” offered Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “We battled back in the second,
and we put ourselves in position to get back in this game, but we let it get
away from us again in the third.”
Brayden Schenn tallied twice and Jakub Voracek added a pair of assists for the
Flyers. Voracek, who has registered a point in a career-high 10 straight
games, has 26 points this season and is tied with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby
for the NHL lead.
Ray Emery was shelled for all six goals on 28 shots, falling to 4-2-1 on the
season. With the Flyers also playing a home game Thursday against Minnesota
it’s unclear if regular starter Steve Mason will get the call tonight or
tomorrow. Mason boasts a 4-1-1 record and a 2.49 goals against average in his
career against the Rangers. Emery is 7-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA in 10 career games
(9 starts) versus New York.
Cam Talbot will give Lundqvist a rare break tonight, as the backup is expected
to make his fourth start of the season. Talbot is 0-2-1 so far in 2014-15, and
his only career appearance versus Philly resulted in defeat, He was saddled
with the loss after stopping 25 shots in his NHL debut in Philadelphia on Oct.
24 of last season.