Rangers Vs. Flyers: Keys To The Game

The New York Rangers are looking for a fourth straight win tonight when they host the Philadelphia Flyers, here's how they can make that happen.

Score Early: Madison Square Garden will be rocking tonight, and the Rangers can capitalize on the emotions and momentum with an early goal. The Flyers are a little banged up, so New York has an opportunity to jump on them from the opening whistle. This isn't going to be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, but an early goal would be very beneficial.

The Fatigue Factor: The good news? The Rangers are coming off a 4-2 victory last night. The bad news? The Rangers played last night. New York isn't rested for this game, although the team has been solid in back-to-back games so far this year. The Rangers just have to play simple hockey and try not to get too fancy.

Join me after the jump.

Henrik Lundqivst's Impact: One Ranger who will be fresh tonight is Lundqvist, who did not play in the Rangers victory over the Islanders Thursday night. Lundqvist will play a huge role tonight, against a very hungry and talented Philadelphia team. Lundqvist shines brightest in big matchups however, and tonight is certianly a big one.

Rangers official pregame notes below.

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Friday, Dec. 23, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden - New York, New York
Rangers: 20-8-4 (44 pts)
Flyers: 21-8-4 (46 pts)

* All information through NHL games on Dec. 22

TOMORROW'S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to close out a back-to-back home set against Atlantic Division opponents. The Blueshirts currently rank second in the Atlantic Division standings, and fourth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 20-8-4 (44 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the New York Islanders, 4-2, last night at Madison Square Garden to extend their winning streak to three games, and are 5-2-0 in their last seven. The Blueshirts have now registered at least one point in 19 of their last 24 games (17-5-2). The Flyers enter the contest with a 21-8-4 (46 pts) record to rank first in the Eastern Conference, and have lost two of their last three games (1-1-1). Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will face-off against the New York Islanders on Monday, Dec. 26, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their fourth consecutive game against an Atlantic Division opponent.

RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Prior to tomorrow's contest, the Rangers' optional morning skate is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. at Madison Square Garden. Head Coach John Tortorella will be available to the media at 11:30 a.m.
* Schedule and availability subject to change

BROADCAST INFORMATION:
* TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig and Mike Keenan
7:00 p.m. - Rangers vs. Flyers
Broadcasters: John Giannone (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Al Trautwig (In-Game Reporter)
* Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:00 p.m. - Rangers vs. Flyers
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

RANGERS vs. FLYERS:
* All-Time: 111-107-37-7 overall (58-47-23-4 at home; 53-60-14-3 on the road)
* 2011-12: Tonight is the second of six meetings this season, and the second of three at home. The Rangers are 1-0-0 following a 2-0 win on Nov. 26 at MSG. Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin each tallied a goal in the contest, and Henrik Lundqvist turned aside all 29 shots he faced.
* Last Season: New York was 2-4-0 overall, with a 1-2-0 mark at home. The Rangers power play was 4-19 (21.1%) in the season series. Ryan Callahan (four goals, one assist) and Derek Stepan (three goals, two assists) tied for the team-high with five points, while Callahan's four goals led the team. Henrik Lundqvist was 2-3-0 with a 2.57 GAA, .908 Sv% and one shutout in five games.
* The Rangers have won their last three games against the Flyers, out-scoring Philadelphia, 12-2, in those contests, and have shutout the Flyers in each of their last two meetings at Madison Square Garden
* New York ranks 18th with a 9-3-2 (20 pts) record at home; Philadelphia ranks first with a 13-3-2 (28 pts) mark on the road
* The Rangers have posted a 5-1-0 record vs. Atlantic Division opponents; the Flyers are 3-1-1 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 17-10-3 record with a 2.66 GAA and four shutouts in 32 career regular season games vs. Philadelphia; Martin Biron is 9-7-2-0 with a 2.18 GAA in 18 career regular season games vs. the Flyers
* Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 23 assists and 31 points in 32 career regular season games vs. Philadelphia; Dan Girardi has tallied more assists/points (18 assists) against the Flyers than any other team during his career
* New York lists three former Flyers on their roster: Martin Biron (2006-07 - 2008-09); Steve Eminger (2008-09); Ruslan Fedotenko (2000-01 - 2001-02)
* Philadelphia lists four former Rangers on their roster: Blair Betts (2005- 06 - 2008-09); Jaromir Jagr (2003-04 - 2007-08); Ian Laperriere (1995-96); Jody Shelley (2009-10)

SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Rangers are 11-51 (21.6%) with the man advantage in the last 14 games. The Blueshirts' penalty kill has held their opponent scoreless in six of their last eight games (22-25, 88.0% over the span), while tallying four shorthanded goals during the stretch. New York is tied for third in the NHL with five shorthanded goals. The Blueshirts have posted a record of 13-1-2 in games when tallying a power play goal, and are 13-3-2 when holding their opponent scoreless on the power play.
* Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in three power play attempts (6:00) last night vs. the Islanders. New York ranks 20th overall (20-125, 16.0%) and ninth at home (13-63, 20.6%). The Rangers are 2-11 (8:16) in five-on-three situations (last – 12/17 at PHX), and 0-4 (3:46) when four-on-three (last – 11/3 vs. ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (3): 12/5 vs. TOR (Steckel); 12/8 vs. TBL (Moore); 12/17 at PHX (Korpikoski).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts surrendered two goals to the Islanders in three shorthanded situations (3:52) last night at MSG. New York ranks seventh overall (99-116, 85.3%) and sixth at home (41-47, 87.2%). The Rangers are 5-6 (3:26) in three-on-five situations (last – 12/17 at PHX), and 0-1 (1:17) when three-on-four (last – 10/7 at LAK). Shorthanded goals for (5): 10/20 at CGY (Prust); 12/8 vs. TBL (Anisimov); 12/10 at BUF (Hagelin); 12/10 at BUF (Callahan); 12/20 at NJD (Hagelin).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in one four-on-four situation (2:00) last night vs. the Islanders. The Rangers are plus-three in 34 four-on-four situations (62:21), and even in one three-on-three situation (0:01). Four-on-four goals for (3): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).

BACK-TO-BACKS
The Rangers opened their fifth of 14 back-to-back sets this season with a 4-2 win last night vs. the Islanders at Madison Square Garden. New York has posted a record of 4-0-1 (2-0-0 at home, 2-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 3-0-1 (3-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 24-8-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets, with a 12-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-2 on the road over the span. Henrik Lundqvist has started on consecutive days 56 times in his career, posting a record of 35-14-7 with a 1.82 GAA, .935 Sv% and six shutouts in the second game. The Rangers will close out the set tonight vs. Philadelphia.

GABY HITS THE MARK
Marian Gaborik tallied his 20th goal of the season in last night's 4-2 win vs. the New York Islanders, marking the eighth time (third consecutive) in his 11-year career he has reached the 20-goal plateau. He enters the contest with a three-game goal/point streak (five goals, one assist over the span), and is currently tied for the league lead in goals scored.

2,500 WINS CLUB
The Rangers registered their 2,500th win in franchise history with a 4-1 victory at Buffalo on Dec. 10, becoming the fifth franchise in NHL history to reach the milestone along with Boston, Detroit, Montreal and Toronto.

QUICK HITS:
* The Rangers rank third in the NHL with a .688 win%, and their eight regulation losses are tied for the fewest in the league
* New York has registered a point in 19 of their last 24 games (17-5-2), and has out-scored their opponent, 79-52, during the stretch
* The Blueshirts rank second in the league in fewest goals against (67) and third in GAA (2.09)
* The Rangers rank fourth in the NHL in hits (843)
* New York is 6-1-1 when leading after the first period and 12-0-2 when leading after the second
* The Blueshirts rank fourth in the NHL in team plus/minus rating (plus-24) and goal differential (plus-25)
* The Blueshirts lead the league with an .833 win% when out-shooting their opponent (10-2-0)
* The Blueshirts rank second in the NHL when scoring first, posting a 15-1-1 mark (.882 win%) in those contests, and their 15 wins rank fourth in the league
* Rangers' prospects J.T. Miller (USA) and Peter Ceresnak (Slovakia) have been selected to represent their respective National Junior Team at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship

INDIVIDUAL NOTES:
* Henrik Lundqvist has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 15 games this season, and is 11-4-1 with a 1.86 GAA, .937 Sv% and one shutout in his last 16 games
* Martin Biron has held opponents to two or fewer goals in six of his eight starts this season, and has posted a 2.00 GAA and .929 Sv% during his current four-game winning streak
* Marian Gaborik enters the contest with a three-game goal/point streak (five goals, one assist over the span), and has tallied 27 points (16 G, 11 A) in the last 25 games
* Gaborik leads the team with eight multi-point games
* Derek Stepan has tallied 23 points (7 G, 16 A) in the last 24 contests, with 12 points (3 G, 9 A) in the last 11
* Artem Anisimov has tallied 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in his last 10 games
* Michael Del Zotto has tallied 11 points (2 G, 9 A) in the last 13 games
* Stu Bickel has tallied an assist in each of his two games since being recalled on Sunday
* Anton Stralman has logged 20:00+ of ice time in three of the last four games

MILESTONES IN SIGHT:
* Marian Gaborik: 1 assist from 300th NHL career
* Dan Girardi: 4 assists from 100th NHL career

MILESTONES RECENTLY ACHIEVED:
* Marian Gaborik: 300th career NHL goal (12/17 at PHX)
* Marian Gaborik: 600th career NHL point (12/20 at NJD)
* Stu Bickel: 1st career NHL game & 1st career NHL assist/point (12/20 at NJD)

INJURIES:
* Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) - 32
* Wojtek Wolski (groin, 11/3) - 21
* Michael Sauer (concussion, 12/5) - 8
* Steve Eminger (shoulder, 12/17) - 2
* Jeff Woywitka (ankle, 12/17) - 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 97

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:
* Dec. 18 - Recalled defenseman Stu Bickel from Connecticut (AHL)
* Dec. 19 - Recalled defenseman Tim Erixon from Connecticut (AHL)

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