Following tonight’s contest, the New York Rangers, save for Ryan McDonagh, won’t take the ice for another game almost a week. That’s a long time to stew or reflect on your prior game.
The Rangers will seek to create a happy memory, facing off with the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at Madison Square Garden, their finale game before All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles (8:00, NBCSN).
The Rangers (31-16-1) will look to go into their mini-vacation on a hot streak, having won their past three games, including a 3-2 victory over the All-Star hosts, the Kings, on Monday night, sweeping a back-to-back after blanking Detroit on Sunday. Brandon Pirri scored in the first period before Matt Puempel, playing in his first game since December 31, scored in his return from injury, before Mats Zuccarello scored his first goal since December 15 for the winner. Henrik Lundqvist continued his streak of stellar play the Rangers have gotten used to over the years, making 36 saves. After the four straight appearances in which Lundqvist gave up four or more goals, he has allowed just four goals over the past three wins, leaving him just five short of 400 for his career.
The Flyers (23-19-6) have, for the time being, fallen out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, currently one point behind Toronto for the final East wild card spot, though they were victorious in another visit to New York City on Sunday, a 3-2 victory at Barclays Center over the Islanders in overtime. The Flyers made up a 2-0 deficit, peppering the Islander net with 47 shots. Wayne Simmonds and Ivan Provorov provided the equalizers in regulation, while Claude Giroux won it in the extra frame. The loss snapped a three game losing streak for the Flyers.
This will be the third meeting of the season between the longtime rivals, but the first of two to be held at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers took both matches at Wells Fargo Center, including the most recent one, also a Wednesday Night Rivalry game, a 5-2 triumph. Michael Grabner and Kevin Hayes had a pair of goals each, with Chris Kreider adding the other. Jakub Voracek added both Flyer goals. The final meeting will come on April 2.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490