If you didn't notice already, we're going to be doing things a little bit different for the final couple of games, and straight into the playoffs. After a lot of requests, we are moving away from our Keys To The Game, and focusing on a balanced type of pregame preview for you guys. So here we go.
The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers have met five times this season before tonight's tussle, and the Rangers have taken all five of them (one being the Winter Classic). The last couple of games have had a playoff like atmosphere and feel to them, but I can guarantee this one will feel like a first round playoff match-up. Putting aside the hate that both of these teams have for one another, and take a look at the standings.
The Flyers are neck and neck with the Pittsburgh Penguins for home ice advantage, and they are behind by a single point. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers are just a single point away from clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Both of these teams will be clawing at each other for these two points tonight, and it won't be easy.
Follow after the jump for an analysis of each team coming into this game, and some game information.
|Where:||Wells Fargo Center|
|Television:||CSN Philadelphia, MSG 2|
|Opponent's Blog:||Broad Street Hockey|
New York Rangers:
The New York Rangers are coming into this game after a very disappointing home-ice loss to the Boston Bruins. The Rangers had the opportunity to clinch the number one spot in the East, with at least a point, but Tim Thomas played stellar. Prior to that game, the Rangers won four straight games which helped strengthen their Eastern Conference lead. Henrik Lundqvist will also be making his tenth straight start for the New York Rangers, in preparation for the 2012 NHL Playoffs.
Hagelin - Richards - Gaborik
Anisimov - Stepan - Callahan
Dubinsky - Boyle - Fedotenko
Rupp - Mitchell - Prust
McDonagh - Girardi
Staal - Del Zotto
Bickel - Stralman
For the Philadelphia Flyers, they are coming off a very eventful game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers would end up taking the game 6-4, shortly after an all out brawl ensued as a result of a (clean) hit on Daniel Briere. Rather then put that entire sequence of events into words, I'll let you guys check it out for yourselves. Ilya Bryzgalov will be back in net for the Flyers for the first time since being injured a few games ago.
Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr
Schenn - (??) - Simmonds
Talbot - Couturier - Rinaldo
Wellwood - Read - Voracek
Carle - Kubina
Coburn - (??)
Bourdon - Timonen