Flyers, Rangers tangle in NYC

11:07 AM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - After reaching the .500 mark for the first time this season, the Philadelphia Flyers look for another first on Tuesday evening as they visit the rival New York Rangers.

Philadelphia has won five of its past seven games to move to 11-11-1 on the season. It picked up a second straight victory on Saturday for the fourth time this season, but has failed in each of its previous three attempts at winning a third game in a row.

If the Flyers want to post their longest winning streak of the season in this game, they'll need to snap a five-game slide at New York's Madison Square Garden, where they haven't won in the regular season since Feb. 20, 2011.

Philadelphia dropped a 2-1 contest in New York on Jan. 29, five days after a 2-1 home win over the Rangers snapped an eight-game series losing streak.

The Flyers closed out a five-game homestand on Saturday with a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds both netted their team- leading ninth goal of the season, while Ilya Bryzgalov notched 33 saves in his 200th NHL win.

In his second season with the Flyers following an inconsistent 2011-12 campaign, Bryzgalov is tied for the league lead with 11 wins and 21 starts.

"I think he has been playing well all season. He stole a couple for us already this year and that's just another one," said Simmonds after the Senators game.

"I think he's got his confidence back. You can tell when a goalie's got his confidence, nothing really fazes him. He's calm in the crease. He's observing pucks and he's playing really well."

So have Simmonds and Voracek.

Simmonds has five goals and nine points in his last seven games, notching the game-winning goal in back-to-back games and three of the past four. Voracek, meanwhile, leads Philadelphia with 25 points and has 15 in his last eight contests.

Philadelphia's recent run has it eighth overall in the Eastern Conference, one ahead of the New York Rangers, who have their own red-hot forward in Rick Nash.

Nash has three goals and six assists in the past six games he has played in, a span broken up by a four-game absence due to injury. New York went 0-3-1 in those games, but has won both contests since Nash's return.

The forward had a goal and an assist in regulation and one of two shootout goals in a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. Ryan Callahan followed Nash's shootout tally with one of his own and Henrik Lundqvist stopped both skaters he faced after making 28 saves through overtime.

Nash and Derek Stepan scored 43 seconds apart following a five-minute major and game misconduct on Buffalo's Patrik Kaleta for hitting from behind. Kaleta drove Brad Richards head-first into the boards while shorthanded and Richards remained down for several minutes.

"It's probably one of the most dangerous hits I've seen. ... I'm glad we made them pay. It's disgusting," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said. "It's a lack of respect. Each team wants to beat the other team, but you need to respect what's going on on the ice."

Kaleta was suspended five games for the incident by the league on Monday.

The good news for the Rangers was that Richards was able to return to the game and though he did not practice on Monday to get treatment for soreness, Tortorella expects his center to be fine.

That should have Richards on the ice for this finale of a four-game homestand, though the Flyers won't have Harry Zolnierczyk after he was suspended for four games by the league for a hit on Ottawa's Mike Lundin on Saturday.

Zolnierczyk was given a major for charging and game misconduct and Lundin did not return to the game due to a concussion.

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