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Preview: Rangers at Flyers

New York tries to rebound after home loss; Philadelphia on four-game slide

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

RANGERS (26-13-1) at FLYERS (20-14-5)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV

 

Rangers team scope

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal will miss at least two games because of an upper-body injury. Coach Alain Vigneault said Staal was injured during the 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday and will be out at least through the five-day bye week, which runs Jan. 8-12, meaning he won't play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday or the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Staal played 19:15 against the Sabres, close to his season average of 19:33. Without Staal, all three defense pairs from Tuesday will change. Adam Clendening, a healthy scratch 31 of the past 35 games, will play with Kevin Klein. Nick Holden, who had been playing the right side with Staal, will move to the left side with Dan Girardi. Brady Skjei, who had been playing on the left side with Girardi, will move to the right side with Ryan McDonagh. Vigneault said the forward lines would remain the same as Tuesday.

Flyers team scope

The Flyers are expecting to see an angry team when they take the ice. "I think they'll probably be [upset]," goaltender Steve Mason said after Philadelphia's optional morning skate. "We're going to have to be ready for the start. They're the type of team that when they're on, they're tough to beat. We have to make sure we're the team dictating the play." The Flyers have lost four straight (0-3-1) and have one win in seven games (1-4-2) since their 10-game winning streak ended at the Dallas Stars on Dec. 17. However coach Dave Hakstol said he saw positive signs in their past two games, a 2-0 loss at the San Jose Sharks on Friday and a 4-3 shootout loss at the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, when they had 55 shots on goal. "The San Jose game, while maybe it wasn't all that apparent, the effort and the compete level and the energy level came back to where we had been previously," Hakstol said. "Whereas the few games, the game before the break [4-0 loss at New Jersey Devils on Dec. 22] and the game in St. Louis [6-3 loss Dec. 28], we just didn't have a real complete effort in terms of our compete level. I would say more so if you start looking at some of the little things, the indicators were there in the San Jose game more than the Anaheim game."

 

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey -- Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller

Nicklas Jensen -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Michael Grabner -- Marek Hrivik -- Brandon Pirri

Ryan McDonagh -- Brady Skjei

Nick Holden -- Dan Girardi

Adam Clendening -- Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: None 

Injured: Marc Staal (upper body),  Pavel Buchnevich (back), Rick Nash (groin), Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula), Matt Puempel (concussion-like symptoms)

 

Flyers projected lineup

Michael Raffl -- Claude Giroux -- Jakub Voracek

Travis Konecny -- Brayden Schenn -- Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read -- Sean Couturier -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Boyd Gordon

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Brandon Manning -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Michael Del Zotto -- Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Injured: Mark Streit (shoulder)

Scratched: Nick Cousins, Roman Lyubimov, Nick Schultz

 

Status report

Lundqvist will start for the third straight game. He has allowed at least four goals in two of his past three games but has been impressive against the Flyers throughout his NHL career. He made a season-high 40 saves in a 3-2 victory against them at Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 25, and in his past seven games against the Flyers he's 6-0-1 with a 1.66 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. … Mason will start for the 22nd time in the past 24 games. "It's been a heavy workload obviously," he said. "I've tried to do the best I can to prepare my body for this load. Every day you just try and stay on top of things. Just try to do your best is all you can do." Neuvirth was activated from injured reserve Tuesday. He had been out since sustaining a lower-body injury during the first period against the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 12. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz was sent to Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League. 

 

Who's hot

Miller has three goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. Kreider has seven goals and two assists in his past seven games. Holden has four goals and one assist in his past four games. McDonagh has eight points in his past seven games. … Schenn has two goals, two assists and 10 shots on goal in his past three games.

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