The Christmas break has already arrived for eight NHL teams. For the other 22, there's one more game before they take two days off for the holiday -- and for the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, there's more at stake than just two points.
The Flyers come to Madison Square Garden for one of 11 games on Friday, the final night of action before the NHL takes off for the holiday weekend. The Rangers, who tuned up by beating the Islanders 4-2 at MSG on Thursday, can move past the Flyers into first place in the Atlantic Division with a regulation win -- and can take over the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a win and a regulation loss by second-place Boston. The Flyers come to the Garden off a 4-1 win in Dallas on Wednesday.
It's also the last time the two teams will see each other before they battle in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Jan. 2.
The NHL Network will televise the game in the United States, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
Four other games also get under way at 7. The Islanders go home to host Toronto, a 3-2 home winner against Buffalo on Thursday. Florida tries to bounce back from Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss at Ottawa when it visits Boston, which has been off since Monday's 3-2 win against Montreal. The Senators move on to Carolina, where the 'Canes lost 4-3 to Phoenix on Wednesday, and Washington visits New Jersey.
Two more games start at 8:30 p.m. ET. Winnipeg, a 4-0 home winner against Montreal on Thursday, is back at the MTS Centre to host Pittsburgh, a 3-2 home winner against Chicago on Tuesday. Dallas will try to bounce back after the loss to the Flyers when Nashville comes to the American Airlines Center. The Preds overcame a 5-2 deficit at home on Thursday and beat Columbus 6-5.
At 9 p.m. ET, Tampa Bay tries to bounce back from Wednesday's 7-2 loss at San Jose when it visits Colorado. The Avs have won nine in a row at home, including Wednesday's 3-2 win against St. Louis. The Blues move on to Phoenix, where the Coyotes are home again after road wins this week at Florida and Carolina.
An hour later, Calgary visits Vancouver in a battle of teams coming off home wins against Detroit. The Canucks won 4-2 on Wednesday; the Flames held on for a 3-2 win on Thursday.
The last pre-Christmas game gets under way at 10:30 when San Jose hosts Los Angeles.