Garden Party: Flyers Take On Rangers At MSG


The Matchup:

Philadelphia Flyers (2-4-0) at New York Rangers (2-3-0)
Madison Square Garden — New York, NY
7:00 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet

Setting the Stage:

The Flyers won the first match-up between the two teams, 2-1, this past Thursday. Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek each scored goals and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 18 of 19 shots faced for the win.

The Flyers looked sloppy on Sunday, playing their worst hockey of the season versus Tampa Bay only 24 hours after playing their best against the Panthers. Despite the bad loss the Flyers have appeared to get themselves together, having played their two best games prior to Sunday.

One of those games was against New York. The Flyers showed a more physical, faster team on the ice than in their first three games. Bryzgalov has also been a factor in their two wins.

New York has been playing good hockey since their miserable 0-2-0 start as well. They're 2-1-0 in their last three games, the loss coming to Philadelphia. 

What to Expect:

Expect a lot of the same from the first meeting between these two teams last Thursday. It'll be fast, physical and there should be at least two fights expected this game.

Zac Rinaldo is back in the lineup for the Flyers, and they chose to stick with Tom Sestito. Rinaldo will replace Tye McGinn in the lineup, who had a bad game on Sunday. 

For the Rangers, Marian Gaborik has been an absolute monster on the ice. He has five goals, all coming in the last three games as well as three assists on the season so far.

New York has front-loaded their top line with Gaborik, Brad Richards (2 goals, 4 assists) and Rick Nash (1 goal, 4 assists). If the Flyers shut that line down like they did the last time they could see a similar outcome.

The Masked Men:

Ilya Bryzgalov returns to the net after his dominating performance against Florida on Saturday. Bryzgalov stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced in the Flyers' 7-1 win. On the season, Brygalov is 2-3-0, but the record doesn't represent the body of work he's put up so far. In his five starts he has a 2.23 GAA and a .923 save percentage.

Henrik Lundqvist will be in net for the Rangers. Making his sixth start, Lundqvist is slowly bettering his 3.13 GAA and .893 save percentage which were inflated in the second game of the season. Lundqvist has been playing better hockey as of late, stopping 46 of 50 shots in his last two starts.

Keys to the Game:

1. Crash the net. It worked in the Flyers' two wins against New York and Florida so there is no reason to abandon it. Create scoring chances from the blue line and clean up the garbage.

2. Gaborik-Richards-Nash. The Rangers top line has scored eight goals in the first five games. The Flyers will need to shut them down, matching them with their top defensive pairing of Braydon Coburn and Nicklas Grossmann to counter their fire power.

3. Keep Bryz hot. Bryzgalov took a breather this past Sunday and will look to slide right back into the groove he's been in. He will definitely face shots early from New York's top line. But it will be on him to stay in the zone and for his defense to clean up the messes for him.


Matt Read on playing back-to-back games: "When you're playing back to back, you've got to keep it simple and play smart hockey. We've got to learn how to play both nights and come to play for 60 minutes every game, every night."