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Rangers and Flyers renew hostilities

by John Kreiser

FLYERS (13-6-3) at RANGERS (11-5-3)

CSN-Philadelphia (HD); MSG (HD)

Last 10:
Philadelphia 6-2-2; New York 8-2-0

Season Series: Two Atlantic Division rivals who don't like each other meet for the first time this season. The Flyers won the first four of last season's six meetings, but the Rangers took the last two -- including a nationally televised 7-0 demolition of the Flyers at Madison Square Garden in March.

Big Story: The Rangers have struggled at home in recent years -- but not so far this season. They've won five in a row at MSG, and a win against the Flyers would give New York its first six-game home winning streak in 14 years. But the Flyers are off to a 7-2-1 start away from the Wells Fargo Center, their best road start since 1993-94.

Team Scope:

Flyers: Claude Giroux continues to show why Flyers GM Paul Holmgren was willing to trade away centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. He continued his brilliant start on Thursday by scoring two goals and setting up the other in a 3-1 win against Montreal. His 29 points are second in the NHL, one behind Toronto's Phil Kessel, and he's been the player who makes the offense go.

"If I had to pick a few guys from the whole League, he's my top three," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "He has been our best player by far. Every game he works hard, skates hard, making plays. … He's one of the better players in the League."

Rangers: New York had scored just once and managed only 37 shots on goal in back-to-back losses at Montreal and Florida. Things weren't going any better in the first period of Friday's game at Washington -- only Henrik Lundqvist's goaltending sent the Blueshirts to the locker room after one period in a scoreless tie. But then the dam burst -- the Rangers erupted for a season-high six goals and buried the Caps 6-3. Ruslan Fedotenko scored twice and Ryan Callahan had three assists.

"I thought we got back to basics," said defenseman Dan Girardi, who led all players with 29:13 of ice time and had two assists. "We kept it real simple. That's how we're going to win games."

Who's Hot: Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed one goal in winning twice this week -- in relief of Ilya Bryzgalov on Wednesday and as a started against Montreal. … Callahan's three assists in Washington matched his total for New York's first 20 games.

Injury Report: The Flyers are banged up. Forward James van Riemsdyk (upper body) will miss at least a week. Jaromir Jagr is out with a lower-body injury, and captain Chris Pronger will miss his fourth game due to illness. Defenseman Andres Lilja left Friday's game with a high ankle sprain and isn't likely to return until after the new year….

Stat Pack: In 22 games, Giroux has 13 goals -- more than half as many (25) as he did in 82 games in 2010-11. … The Rangers have outscored opponents 19-7 during their home winning streak.

Puck Drop: Call it the healing power of turkey. A team Thanksgiving dinner after Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Florida appeared to do wonders for the Rangers, who played like the team that had won seven in a row before the losses to the Canadiens and Panthers.

"We regrouped. We had a good turkey dinner. We were ready from the beginning. Everybody in the whole lineup played solid," Fedotenko said. "We didn't try to force too many things."

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