Rangers Aim to Snap Skid vs. Red-Hot Flyers

The Rangers play the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time this season as they host the Flyers at Madison Square Garden tonight.

The peaks and valleys of the long NHL regular season are clearly evident given the hot and cold streaks that these two teams have put together. After a dismal 1-5-2 start, a run to respectability after going 12-4-0 in their next 16, the Rangers are 1-4-0 in their last five games and have just one regulation win in their last 11.

Meanwhile, the Flyers have won four consecutive and are 12-4-1 in their last 17. That run since early December that has put Philly right back into the playoff mix comes on the heels of 10 consecutive losses. For both teams, consistency has been their inconsistency!

[Watch Rangers-Flyers Tonight on MSG & MSG GO]

The Rangers fell 5-2 in Pittsburgh, in their last outing. After securing a 2-1 lead in the first period, a period that may have been their best 20 minutes of hockey in their last 10 games, the Blueshirts took a couple of penalties early in the second. The penalty killers did a terrific job in holding down the fort, but the momentum clearly changed and a third consecutive loss was on the books.

Over the course of any game, the momentum will shift and the key is where you stand when it shifts against you. Rarely is a game perfect but the goal is to be closer to perfection than not. For the Rangers, a more complete game over the course of 60 minutes needs to be found. Quickly.

Alain Vigneault, Ryan McDonagh, Jimmy Vesey and Brendan Smith discuss what the Rangers need to do to beat the Flyers.

While the Rangers struggles include a lack of scoring, the Flyers recent success has included an abundance of goals. They have scored 21 times in their four consecutive wins.

Sean Couturier has two goals in each of his last three games and leads the team with 25 on the season. A former first round pick, 8th overall in 2011, the 25-year-olds’ career seemed to be heading to that of a solid shut-down center. Given that 15 had marked his career high, the Flyers are certainly benefitting from Couturier’s newly found goal-scoring prowess. This is an example of a story coming from nowhere, making a big difference.

[Carpiniello: Rangers Season At A Crossroads]


1. Flyer PP/Ranger PK

The Flyer power play is on fire having scored nine times in 24 opportunities in their last five games. Meanwhile, the Ranger penalty-killers have blinked just once in their last five games. An important matchup.

[6 Facts to Know for Rangers-Flyers]

2. Simple

Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider, two of the Rangers top forwards, will be out once again due to injury. It has been a struggle to score and the time calls for keeping it simple. A shot on goal is never a bad play, even more so when things have dried up offensively. And there is nothing simpler than a shot on goal.

Peter Holland talks about how he's feeling ahead of his New York Rangers debut.

3. Push Back

There was a time that when the Flyers came calling you could most assuredly expect that there would be an edge to the game. Not sure that is still the case but physical aggressiveness still lies just below the surface of any player who suits up in the black and orange. Turning the cheek never really works when you play the Flyers.

[Watch Rangers-Flyers Tonight on MSG & MSG GO]