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Philadelphia
Flyers
44-27-11
New York
Rangers
43-30-9

20 SOG
37 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
PHI
NYR
game preview

Flyers-Rangers Preview

Sunday, 02.15.2009 / 12:30 PM

Associated Press

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Biron continued his dominance of an Atlantic Division rival to get his first win in more than a month.

With Antero Niittymaki likely sidelined again, Biron will try to duplicate that performance against another Atlantic opponent at a site where he's enjoyed a great deal of success.

On Sunday, Biron leads the Flyers into Madison Square Garden for the first time this season to face the New York Rangers.

Biron got his first win since Jan. 10 on Saturday, stopping 38 shots as the Flyers (29-16-9) routed the New York Islanders 5-1. He had gone 0-4-0 with a 3.98 goals-against average over his previous five starts.

"I wasn't happy with the way I was playing the last two, three weeks, maybe a month or longer ... That's why I tried to get fired up to feed off the guys and get something going. I brought a lot of emotion, a lot of energy to practice this week," said Biron, who was pulled from his last start after allowing three goals in the first period of the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win in Boston on Feb. 7.

Coach John Stevens was impressed with Biron's performance and hopes it's a sign of things to come while Niittymaki recovers from the flu.

"I thought Marty was solid today," Stevens said. "He looked square to the puck and his balance looked good. It looked like his confidence is coming back."

Biron has been confident throughout his career at MSG, going 6-2-1 with a 1.66 GAA in 10 games there.

Though he's won 10 straight against the last-place Islanders, Biron struggled in the Flyers' first meeting with the Rangers (30-20-6) in 2008-09. He gave up four goals on 14 shots in 16-plus minutes before being booed off the ice in the 4-3 defeat in Philadelphia's season opener on Oct. 11.

Nikolai Zherdev, Blair Betts, Fredrik Sjostrom and Michal Rozsival staked the Rangers to a 4-0 lead, but the Flyers couldn't overcome the deficit.

Philadelphia left wing Simon Gagne expects another battle as the Rangers look to climb in the Atlantic standings. The Flyers enter the game with a one-point lead.

"Flyers-Rangers is a big rivalry," Gagne told the NHL's official Web site. "It doesn't take much to get yourself excited for that game. You know it's going to be a big game. You know on both sides, both teams are going to play their best games."

New York suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to Florida on Friday. Henrik Lundqvist made 42 saves, but the Rangers fell to 1-4-2 in their last seven.

"We can't be satisfied with just one point," said Lundqvist, who lost for only the third time in 11 shootouts this season. "We definitely need the two-pointers. It's disappointing not to get it."

The Rangers went 0-for-3 with the man advantage against the Panthers, and are 1-for-26 on the power play in their last eight games.

"I don't know where to begin with the power play," left wing Markus Naslund said. "We need to simplify and get shots, but it doesn't seem to want to go our way."

Lundqvist is 0-1-1 with a 4.66 GAA in his last three starts at MSG against the Flyers, but 8-3-2 with a 3.03 GAA in 15 career games against them.

Center Jeff Carter, Philadelphia's leader with 34 goals and 58 points, has two goals and four assists in his last four games. But he's been held to two goals and two assists in 16 games against the Rangers since the start of the 2006-07 season.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 12 '09NYR 4 at PHI 3B. Betts
Apr 09 '09PHI 1 at NYR 2R. Callahan
Mar 15 '09PHI 1 at NYR 4N. Antropov
Mar 14 '09NYR 2 at PHI 4A. Asham
Feb 15 '09PHI 5 at NYR 2M. Carle
Oct 11 '08NYR 4 at PHI 3M. Rozsival
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Carter55342559+1140107
M. Richards52203252+184243
S. Gagne52222850+212872
S. Hartnell55212142+69944
M. Knuble55191635+34083
J. Lupul52161733-53853
K. Timonen5432629+154020
S. Upshall4861420+85320
B. Coburn5351520+46530
M. Carle4951116+51602
G. Metropolit513912-21310
A. Alberts5211011+65000
C. Giroux163710+51200
O. Vaananen441910+52200
D. Briere9549-31020
A. Asham51459+213700
L. Sbisa39077-63600
D. Powe33336+01600
R. Jones22325+21612
A. Nodl29134-11200
J. Gratton19123-25700
J. Kalinski12123-2001
R. Cote43022-414300
L. Kukkonen21022-11000
S. Eminger12022+0800
R. Parent6011+3200
J. Ross8000-4200
S. Downie6000-41100
B. Kane1000+0000
N. Raduns1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Biron3417-11-59410222.87.908
A. Niittymaki2413-5-4607152.58.916
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
N. Zherdev57162844+22740
S. Gomez52102838-114614
M. Naslund57171835-123060
C. Drury57151934-102062
B. Dubinsky5782028-47426
M. Rozsival5671926-134432
R. Callahan5613821-13320
W. Redden5621719-104110
N. Dawes468917-11534
P. Mara5651116-27710
D. Girardi5731316-122411
A. Voros498715-811031
L. Korpikoski445510-7801
D. Kalinin511910-92600
M. Staal57279+15000
B. Betts56538-21000
F. Sjostrom55437-111800
P. Prucha22347-2900
C. Orr57145-1013800
D. Fritsche16134-2200
E. Reitz37112-65500
C. Potter3011-1000
P. Rissmiller2000-2000
A. Anisimov1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
H. Lundqvist4725-17-511913582.57.912
S. Valiquette135-4-1333562.82.907