NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 27th (All times eastern)
New York Rangers (23-21-4) at Philadelphia Flyers (11-31-5), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Hoping that their second half of the season turns out better than the first, the Philadelphia Flyers start up their post-All-Star Break schedule this afternoon with a home test against the rival New York Rangers.
Philadelphia entered the hiatus with a mere 27 points, by far the lowest total in the league, and lost their last eight contests prior to the break. The club is a woeful 3-16-2 since December 1 and hasn't won since a January 2nd decision over the New York Islanders.
The Flyers did manage a point their most recent time out, but were dealt a tough 4-3 shootout loss to Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey last Saturday. The Devils' Brian Gionta sent the game into overtime by scoring with just 20.8 seconds remaining in regulation, then netted the lone goal during the deciding phase.
Ryan Potulny, Kyle Calder and All-Star Simon Gagne all tallied for Philadelphia, which received a strong performance in goal from Antero Niittymaki. The netminder made 35 saves despite being saddled with his 14th consecutive defeat.
The Flyers will be attempting to break a two-month long winless drought at the Wachovia Center as well. Philadelphia has lost nine straight on home ice since a 3-2 decision at Columbus on November 24 and is a league-worst 3-14-4 as the host this season.
The Rangers are also in a rut, having lost their final two games before the break and four of their last five overall. After being shut out by the Devils on January 16, New York again failed to get its offense untracked in a 3-1 setback to Atlanta last Saturday.
Jaromir Jagr had the lone goal for the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 of 31 shots in the loss.
With 50 points, New York is currently two behind fellow Atlantic Division member Pittsburgh for the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
Jagr was left off the Eastern Conference roster for Wednesday's All-Star Game at the request of the Rangers, who wanted the veteran wing to use the break to rest his surgically-repaired shoulder. The 34-year-old superstar is expected to be in the lineup for this afternoon's tilt.
New York has taken three of the four meetings between these Atlantic Division foes in 2006-07 and are 6-1-0 in their last seven visits to the Wachovia Center. The Rangers have won both games played in Philly this season as well.
01/27 10:23:12 ET