Light up the Empire State Building in orange and black, Mr. Snider’s Flyers are in town for what could be a first-round playoff preview.
The Rangers, who have won four in a row, lead the Flyers by a point for second in the Lesstropolitan Division, but Philly has two games in hand. The Rangers, for the moment, hold the tiebreaker (regulation/OT wins) 36-35.
While this would appear to be an enormous game, it really isn’t any more or less important than any other, unless home-ice, ahem, “advantage” matters to you. It shouldn’t. Home-ice has proven to be anything but an advantage in the playoffs, and the Rangers have been a far better team on the road than at home this season.
Basically, the two points are huge to stay out of the wild card race, though, and obviously if the Rangers can stay ahead of Philadelphia, that improves their chances of finishing second or third.
The Flyers have lost seven straight at MSG, outscored 28-8 in that stretch.
The Rangers will be without Chris Kreider who suffered a hand injury in Columbus Friday and will not play tonight or join the Rangers for their four-game trip through Western Canada and Colorado.
J.T. Miller was recalled from Hartford (AHL) and is expected to play on a line with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, while Martin St. Louis moves up to the first line with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. Both St. Louis and Stepan are recovering from the flu, but ex-Flyer Daniel Carcillo still has the bug and is not expected to play tonight.
John Moore (concussion) skated this morning but is not ready to return.
Henrik Lundqvist starts in goal against Steve Mason.
In case you missed it, these were the remarks by Wayne Simmonds in the Philly papers today: “It’s going to be a tone-setter. We’re going to try to set a tone. If we do happen to play them in the playoffs, they’re going to definitely know what the Philadelphia Flyers are bringing to the table.”
So another onions check. Probably a good night to get the power play going, too.
Other games that matter tonight:
Don’t forget to vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.