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Open Game Thread: Rangers vs. Flyers

The Rangers are looking to avoid losing a fourth straight game in a row.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers (22-17-5) return to Madison Square Garden to take on the Philadelphia Flyers (20-15-8) for their first meeting of the 2017-18 season.

The Rangers (49 points) and Flyers (48 points) are both just outside of the wild card seeds in the Eastern Conference, with the New York Islanders (50 points) in the last slot. A win from the Rangers and loss by the Islanders would put the Rangers back into playoff standing, while a win from the Flyers would keep them on the outside looking in for the night regardless of the Islanders.

The Flyers won their only game since their bye week (5-3 over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday), while the Rangers lost both of theirs (7-2 to the Islanders, 5-2 to the Penguins). The Rangers have yet to win a regulation game since December 19 (versus the Anaheim Duck) and have lost their last three games.

Kevin Hayes remains out of the lineup with injury, keeping J.T. Miller at center. Boo Nieves was assigned to Hartford yesterday, while Peter Holland was recalled; he's set to skate between Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast. Jimmy Vesey and David Desharnais had Paul Carey added to their line, while Vinni Lettieri was promoted to skate alongside Miller and Mats Zuccarello. Pavel Buchnevich moved up to the first line, where he'll play with Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash.

As for the defense, the pairs and who stays in the lineup depends on the availability of Ryan McDonagh, who practiced this morning. Henrik Lundqvist is expected in net.

Update: McDonagh returns to the lineup tonight. Here's the lines/pairs from warmups: