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Flyers pay first visit of the season to New York

by John Kreiser
FLYERS (28-11-5) at RANGERS (26-17-3)

TV -- CSN-Philadelphia (HD); MSG (HD)

Last 10 -- Philadelphia 6-4-0; New York 6-3-1

Season series -- It's the third of the six meetings between Atlantic Division rivals this season, but the first at Madison Square Garden. The Flyers won the first two, most recently a 4-1 victory on Dec. 18, but have lost four of their last five visits to New York.

Big story -- The Flyers come to the Garden for their third game in four nights, all on the road, as they try to hold off Pittsburgh for the top spot in the division and the Eastern Conference. They had Saturday off after a 5-2 win at Atlanta on Friday. The Rangers are also playing their third game in four nights, including a 3-2 loss at Montreal on Saturday that saw them play poorly for the first two periods before dominating the third but coming up short.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- Danny Briere may be the smallest player on one of the NHL's biggest teams, but he's having a huge impact on the Eastern Conference leaders. Briere and linemates Scott Hartnell and Ville Leino have been among the NHL's best units recently. Briere scored his team-high 24th goal to break a 2-2 tie late in the third period and the Flyers went on to win 5-2 at Atlanta.

"It took us a while -- the third period -- to get it going," Briere said. "You try not to get frustrated by (losing to Boston), but the big part of a win like (Friday) is the confidence it brings."

Rangers -- One of the few things that pleased coach John Tortorella was the reaction of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to being hit by Montreal's Max Pacioretty late in the second period. Lundqvist took a roughing penalty after throwing a punch with his blocker.

"I loved it," Tortorella said. "I thought it was terrific. I loved his emotion."

Added forward Brandon Dubinsky: "Hank has taken his fair share of guys running him over in the crease. He got run over and took exception to it, and a pile-on ensued. It just shows the passion that he plays with and how much he cares."

Who's hot -- Briere has goals in five consecutive games, totaling 6 goals and 10 points during that span. His 24 goals are just one fewer than he scored all last season. … Lundqvist is 12-6-2 with a 1.77 goals against average, a .937 save percentage and four shutouts in his last 20 games

Injury report -- Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger (foot surgery) is skating and could be back this week. … The Rangers are still without forwards Ryan Callahan (broken hand), Eric Christensen (knee surgery) and Derek Boogaard (concussion). Vaclav Prospal (knee surgery) has yet to play this season.

Stat pack -- This is the 12th set of back-to-backs for the Rangers. They are 6-5-1 in the first game, including Saturday's loss at Montreal, but are 10-1-0 in the second game and have outscored opponents 33-13 in those games. … The Rangers lead the NHL with nine shorthanded goals.

Puck drop -- A lot of the Flyers enjoy shopping when they come to New York, but coach Peter Laviolette cut down on their time with the charge cards by scheduling an outdoor practice on Saturday. The players got together on Lasker Rink in Central Park for a midday workout that brought back memories of their appearance in the Winter Classic just over a year ago.

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