GAME: New York Rangers (25-35-7-7) at Philadelphia Flyers (37-18-14-6).
TIME: Saturday, 3 p.m. EST.
Coming off their first home loss in a month, the Philadelphia Flyers hope to
move closer to the Atlantic Division title when they host the New York Rangers.
Philadelphia had been unbeaten in its previous six home games (5-0-1) before
a 3-2 loss to Toronto on Thursday.
John LeClair and Kim Johnsson scored late in the third period for the
Flyers, who are three points behind Tampa Bay for the Eastern Conference lead.
Philadelphia also failed to extend its lead over New Jersey in the race for the
top spot in the Atlantic.
"We hit three or four goalposts and hit the crossbar," Flyers coach Ken
Hitchcock said. "But it's hard to fault our team's effort right now."
Besides ending a four-game overall unbeaten streak, Thursday's loss also saw
the Flyers lose defenseman Vladimir Malakhov to a broken jaw when he was hit by
a puck with 3:55 remaining. Malakhov, acquired from the Rangers on March 8, was
to have a plate implanted Friday.
Losing Malakhov is particularly damaging to Philadelphia, which is already
without defenseman Eric Desjardins and centers Jeremy Roenick and Keith
Primeau. There is no timetable for Desjardins or Primeau to return, but
Roenick, who sustained a concussion and a broken jaw on Feb. 12, said he hopes
to return for the final week of the regular season.
With Desjardins and Malakhov sidelined, forward Sami Kapanen could play as a
defenseman in the playoffs. Kapanen played defense in two games earlier this
"It adds a whole new dimension to us," Hitchcock said. "Sometimes, you
get players like him who can create more offense from the back end than from
The Flyers - 4-0 against the Rangers this season - have won eight of nine at
home against New York.
The Rangers, out of the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, haven't
done a very good job of playing spoiler, winning just two of their last 11
One of the few bright spots for New York has been the play of star forward
Jaromir Jagr, who scored the tying goal with 2:43 left in regulation in
Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss at Washington.
Jagr, acquired from the Capitals on Jan. 23, has 12 goals and 24 points in
24 games with the Rangers.
New York's penalty killing has been dismal over the past four games,
allowing eight goals in 17 short-handed situations. The Rangers will be facing
the league's best power-play unit Saturday.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 64 points, 4th place, 30 PB, Atlantic Division. Flyers
- 94 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Jagr, 28 goals, 42 assists and 70 points; Dale
Purinton, 113 PIM. Flyers - Mark Recchi, 26 goals, 45 assists and 71 points;
Donald Brashear, 204 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 18): Rangers - Power play: 14.1 percent (42 for
297), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.3 percent (281 for 350), 29th. Flyers -
Power play: 22.9 percent (64 for 279), 1st. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (266
for 317), 14th.
GOALTENDERS: Rangers - Mike Dunham (16-27-6, 2 SO, 2.97 GAA); Jamie McLennan
(12-10-3, 4, 2.23). Flyers - Robert Esche (20-8-6, 2, 1.92); Sean Burke
(14-20-7, 1, 2.85).
SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 4-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 12; Flyers, 2-1. At New York, On the night they lost
Roenick to a broken jaw, Burke made 26 saves in his first game back with the
Flyers and Kapanen snapped a tie midway through the third period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 12-17-4-3 on the road; Flyers - 23-8-3-3 at