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Rangers Visit Philadelphia to Battle the Flyers

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers return to action less than 24 hours after a disappointing loss to the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.

Every player in the locker room following last night's 4-1 loss said the team's execution was off throughout the game, as the Blueshirts had trouble generating much offensively throughout the contest.

Nick Holden's lone goal in the second period got the Rangers to within two goals, but as Henrik Lundqvist said after, Jimmy Vesey's penalty that led to Jack Eichel's power play goal to extend Buffalo's lead to three killed any momentum New York had generated in the latter part of the middle frame.

With the team traveling to Philadelphia last night, the Rangers will not have a morning skate, thus it is unknown who will be in goal against the Flyers tonight at 8 pm.

If Lundqvist gets the start on the back-to-back, he'll bring a 32-13-4 lifetime record against the rival Flyers. In his last 22 appearances against Philadelphia, Lundqvist is 18-3-1 with a 1.80 GAA and a .942 SV% with two shutouts.

Antti Raanta, meanwhile, is 2-1-1 with a shutout in his career against the Flyers. He's made at least 30 saves in three of those appearances.

Center Derek Stepan, whose line with Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello has been the Rangers' most effective trio as of late, has 28 points in 30 games against the Flyers, the most he has against any team in his NHL career.

Tonight's game is the second of four meetings between the Rangers and Flyers this season, and the second in Philadelphia. The two teams last met on Nov. 25 in a 3-2 Rangers win. Lundqvist made 40 saves while Kevin Hayes, Matt Puempel and Derek Stepan each scored goals.

After an extended winning streak last month that saw them shoot up in the standings, the Flyers have cooled a bit over the last several weeks as they enter tonight's contest 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. The Flyers are coming off a 4-3 loss to Anaheim Sunday night.

The Flyers are led by their three-headed offensive monster of Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux. Voracek has 35 points this season while Simmonds and Giroux have 32 each in 39 games.

As has been the case with Philadelphia, scoring goals is not been a problem, as they enter Wednesday's game with 116 goals scored in 39 games, good enough for fourth in the NHL. 

The problem, though, has been on the defensive side of the puck. The Flyers have allowed 120 goals this season, which is fourth-worst in the League. Their minus-4 goal differential is tied for the second-worst of any team currently in a playoff spot.

Goaltender Steve Mason is 14-12-5 on the year with a 2.78 GAA and a .904 SV%. Backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth was activated off of injured reserve on Tuesday after being out since Nov. 12 with a lower-body injury.
Tuesday's contest will feature two of the best power play units in the NHL. The Rangers enter the game with the fourth-best power play at 22.9 percent, with the Flyers' ranked sixth at 21.7 percent efficiency.

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