Rangers aim to complete season sweep of Flyers
Monday, 04.02.2012 / 2:32 PM
Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorRANGERS (50-22-7) at FLYERS (46-24-9)
TV: MSG 2 (HD), CSN-PH (HD)
New York 6-4-0; Philadelphia 6-2-2
The Rangers will go for the season sweep of their Atlantic Division rivals. In their most recent meeting, Ryan Callahan
had a hat trick and Marian Gaborik
had a goal and three assists in 5-2 win in Philadelphia.
Can the Rangers continue their march toward the Eastern Conference title? Or will the Flyers finally be able to beat their northern rival and stay in the running for the fourth seed in the East?
As nice as it would be to finish the sweep of the Flyers, Rangers players said Monday their motivation is winning -- regardless of the opponent.
"We don't really pay attention to it," Mike Rupp
told The (Bergen) Record of the Rangers' winning the first five games. "It's something more for them to pay attention to. Obviously, it's big that we’ve played well against them and gotten points."
"As for now, to us, that's in the past," Brian Boyle
added. "To them, I'm sure it's motivation. They're trying to battle for home ice. They'll be obviously motivated in their building."
In all, the Rangers have won seven straight against the Flyers, a stretch that goes back to Feb. 20, 2011.
After wearing a visor for his first three NHL seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, forward Wayne Simmonds
took it off this season, his first with the Flyers. The result has been a career-best 27 goals, but it's also featured a pair of serious injuries -- twice he's been hit in the face by pucks.
When it happened Saturday against the Ottawa Senators, he returned wearing a visor out of necessity, but said he isn't sure he's going to keep it on or not.
"Obviously I'll wear the visor until the stitches come out," he said. "I'm not too sure I'm going to continue wearing it after that."
Simmonds may not have made a decision, but his mother certainly has. Simmonds said his mother was against him taking off the visor this season, and at one point called his agent to have him tell Simmonds to put on a visor.
"I don't think she’s too happy right now, but obviously that's my mother, she's not going to be happy with anything I do," Simmonds said. "She told me I should put on a full cage, but it's not college hockey, you can't play like that."
Callahan has 4 goals in five games against the Flyers this season. … Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds
has goals in four straight games. He has 5 goals in that span.
Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger
(ankle) and forward Mats Zuccarello
(wrist) are out indefinitely. … Flyers center Danny Briere
is out indefinitely with an upper-back contusion. Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann
is out 7-10 days with a lower-body injury. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
(foot) is day-to-day.
The Flyers trailed 2-0 or worse in six of their last nine games, but they're 5-2-2 in that span.
Why have the Flyers struggled so much against the Rangers? Simmonds has a pretty good idea.
"We have to play our game, and I think in the games that we've played them we only played about 40 minutes of the game and they played the full 60, and you're never going to win playing that way against that team," he said.