NEW YORK -- When the Philadelphia Flyers face off against the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, they'll do so with forward Steve Downie watching from the press box. With the right wing struggling of late, coach Craig Berube decided Downie will be a healthy scratch.
"His intensity level is not where it needs to be shift to shift," Berube said following Philadelphia's optional skate.
Downie has dealt with a concussion and an upper-body injury since being traded to Philadelphia on Oct. 31 in a trade that sent Maxime Talbot to the Colorado Avalanche. He has been held without a point in his past nine games and took two penalties in a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon. He was also on the ice for Valtteri Filppula's winning goal, which was scored 66 seconds after Jakub Voracek scored in the second period to tie the game 3-3.
"I just have to come to work and work hard every day. It is what it is," said Downie, who hinted that he might still be dealing with injuries. "I feel good. I'm definitely not feeling great. It comes down to playing hard. I have to find that game again."
Rosehill is expected to provide a physical edge in a crucial Metropolitan Division matchup. Philadelphia sits third in the division with 50 points, just one ahead of fourth-place New York. The second-place Washington Capitals also have 50 points, but hold a game in hand on Philadelphia and two on the Rangers.
It's an unforeseen key matchup considering how both teams struggled out of the gate. The Rangers started 2-6-0 on their nine-game season-opening road trip while the Flyers started 0-3-0 before firing coach Peter Laviolette on Oct. 8 and replacing him with Berube.
"Every game is probably the biggest game of the year. The Metropolitan Division, I think every team except for Pittsburgh was awful, losing a lot of games early," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "A lot of teams have been picking it up and playing a lot better. It's going to be a good battle."
The Rangers only had three players on the ice for their optional morning skate before the Flyers fielded most of their roster in their practice. Goaltender Ray Emery was not present for Philadelphia's morning skate and will start against Henrik Lundqvist.
Here are the projected lineups for the Flyers and Rangers:
Scratched: Justin Falk
Injured: Derek Dorsett (broken fibula)