GAME PREVIEW: Flyers vs. New York Rangers

The Game: The Philadelphia Flyers look to make it five in a row tonight as they take on the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Orange and Black have been on an absolute roll of late, and haven’t lost a contest since an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jackets over a week ago.  The Flyers have rolled off four straight wins, and have been anchored by Sergei Bobrovsky in net, who’s been in goal for every victory in the current win streak.  Their winning ways have led them to first place in the Atlantic Division entering tonight’s contest, with a 7-4-1 record.  The Rangers are also turning a lot of heads with their success early on in the season.  Taking a 6-4-1 record into tonight’s contest, the Broadway Blueshirts have relied heavily on strong defensive play in front of all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to jumpstart them out of the gate in 2010-2011.  Like the Flyers, New York has also been out of action since a Monday victory over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden.

The Story: The story in tonight’s contest is quite possibly the best there has been for a Flyers game all year.  Everyone knows what happened the last time the Flyers and Rangers got together last season for game 82 of a wild and whacky regular season.  After 60 minutes of play heavily dominated by the Flyers, the Rangers, thanks to a herculean 46 save effort, were able to stay deadlocked with the Orange and Black in a 1-1 draw in a game that appeared to be destined for a shootout.  From there, the Flyers took over, as Claude Giroux and Danny Briere scored for the Orange and Black, while Brian Boucher shut the door and the Flyers began that improbable run of last spring.  This year, you can bet an angry bunch of Rangers will be coming to the Wells Fargo Center, looking to extract some revenge from the home team tonight.  For the sake of the Flyers, I hope they are willing to match the effort from New York tonight, because it certainly will be there. 

Who to Watch on the Rangers: Ryan Callahan, Right Wing.

Callahan has stepped up in the absence of NYR's big guns

With Chris Drury, Marian Gaborik, and Vinny Prospal all out extended time with a variety of injuries, someone in New York needed to step up to prevent a free-fall in the early part of the season in New York.  That person has turned out to be Rangers assistant captain Ryan Callahan.  The Rochester, NY native, and member of Team USA during the Vancouver Olympics last February, Callahan has paced the Rangers thus far this season, scoring four goals and adding nine assists through the team’s first 11 games, well on pace to surpass his totals of 19 goals and 18 assists last season.  “Cally” has also been a +1 so far on the scoresheet and has been playing on New York’s top unit alongside Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky.  He’s a gritty winger who is not afraid to get dirty in front of the net, and should make things difficult tonight for the Flyers defense, and their netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.  Callahan is someone to watch tonight.

The Skinny: It was fitting for the Flyers and the Rangers that last season would come down to a final game.  For one, the two teams, including that last game, split their season series on the year, with the Flyers winning two of the three games in South Philadelphia, and the Rangers winning two of three at the Garden.  The Flyers outscored New York 15-10 in their six meetings last season, highlighted by back-to-back shutouts of New York on December 30th and January 21st meetings. 

Notes: Peter Laviolette has announced that the Flyers will start Sergei Bobrovsky in net again tonight, while it’s almost a guarantee John Tortorella will put Henrik Lundqvist in goal for the New York Rangers.  Eric Wellwood should be in the line-up once again, as word out of the morning practice per Philly Sports Daily’s Steve Whyno is that Andreas Nodl is still not yet ready to go.  Wellwood had a strong debut Monday night.  Claude Giroux will look to continue his sizzling play tonight, as the Hearst, Ontario native has four goals and three assists during the four-game winning streak. 


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