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At the Rink: Rangers at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers will go for their fifth straight win Saturday against the New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET; SN, MSG, CSN-PH) with rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere back in the lineup.

Gostisbehere had missed the previous two games because of a lower-body injury sustained Jan. 7 during a 4-3 overtime win at the Minnesota Wild.

Since being recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Nov. 14, Gostisbehere has had a tremendous impact on the Flyers' season. In 23 games with Gostisbehere in the lineup, the Flyers are 12-7-4, averaging 2.48 goals per game with a power-play rating of 17.9 percent. In 18 games without him, they're 7-8-3, averaging 2.00 goals per game with a power-play success rate of 12.5 percent. That includes 0-for-8 the past two games.

"As a defenseman he's got to have his biggest impact defending and moving pucks out of our own zone," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "Power play is an area we need him to be good in. But with any defenseman on our roster he's got to be good on the back end first."

Gostisbehere will be paired with Evgeny Medvedev to start the game. Brandon Manning will be a healthy scratch. Gostisbehere also got back into his spot on the first power-play unit.

"[Gostisbehere] has got to do his part and the other four guys got to do their part," Hakstol said. "As a unit we've got to do a good job. To win games in the second half you've got to win the specialty teams battle."

Hakstol said Gostisbehere is fully healthy and will have no restrictions when it comes to ice time.

The Rangers will have two lineup changes. Forward Oscar Lindberg returns after being a healthy scratch the previous two games, and defenseman Dan Girardi returns to the lineup after missing one game because of a lacerated hand.

Forward Jayson Megna and defenseman Dylan McIlrath won't play Saturday.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Lindberg's two-game absence was more of a numbers game from having 13 healthy forwards.

"Oscar wasn't playing bad when we decided to take him out of the lineup," Vigneault said. "Had more to do with bringing Kreids [Chris Kreider] back in. If you bring Kreids back in and you've already got [Rick] Nash on the left side and J.T. [Miller] the way J.T. had been playing, and you got Tanner [Glass] who's been playing real well with [Dominic Moore] and Viktor [Stalberg], then who comes out? It had more to with that. I thought he was playing well, making good decisions with the puck. Sometimes it's just a numbers game. Jayson Megna on the right side had come in and played well for us in the initial game, so we wanted to get a longer look there. So Oscar comes back tonight and hopefully he'll play well for us."

Here are the projected lineups:


Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash

J.T. Miller - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Oscar Lindberg - Kevin Hayes - Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Viktor Stalberg

Ryan McDonagh - Kevin Klein

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Dan Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Injured: None

Scratched: Jayson Megna, Dylan McIlrath


Jakub Voracek - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Brayden Schenn

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White

Matt Read - Scott Laughton - R.J. Umberger

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Shayne Gostisbehere - Evgeny Medvedev

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Injured: None

Scratched: Jordan Weal, Brandon Manning

Status report: Lundqvist starts the first half of a back-to-back set for the Rangers; Raanta will be in goal Sunday against the Washington Capitals.

Who's hot: McDonagh has three points, all assists, in his previous three games. … Voracek has four goals and 10 assists in his past 12 games.


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