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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, January 10th (All times eastern)

Philadelphia Flyers (21-15-4) at New York Rangers (20-18-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of Atlantic Division rivals will resume hostilities this evening at Madison Square Garden, as the New York Rangers welcome the Philadelphia Flyers to Manhattan.

Just one point separates the Flyers and Rangers in the division standings, as Philadelphia is third with 46 points and New York is tied for last with the Islanders. New Jersey leads the Atlantic with 51 points.

The Rangers have defeated the Flyers in the first two of eight meetings between the clubs this season. New York has taken four straight, seven of eight and eight of the last 10 encounters in the series.

Philadelphia has dropped two in a row and three of its previous four games at MSG.

The Flyers have won five of their last six contests and are coming off Tuesday's triumph in Atlanta. Scott Hartnell had a goal and two assists as Philly continued their domination of the Thrashers with a 4-1 victory at Philips Arena.

Jeff Carter scored a pair of goals while Steve Downie notched his second goal in as many games for the Flyers.

Antero Niittymaki made 27 saves in the win for Philadelphia, which has won eight straight against Atlanta and is 11-0-1 against the Thrashers since a 4-1 loss on December 21, 2003.

Philadelphia expects to have star winger Simon Gagne back in the lineup tonight after he missed the last 26 games with a concussion. Gagne, who scored 40-plus goals in each of his previous two seasons, has been sidelined since suffering the injury in a game against Pittsburgh on November 8.

Defenseman Jason Smith (shin) and wingers Sami Kapanen (dental surgery) and Scottie Upshall (ankle) are all questionable for this evening's tilt.

Tonight's test marks the end of a six-game road trip for the Flyers, who are 4-1-0 on the swing and 13-10-0 as the visiting club this season.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have lost four straight contests and have yet to post a win in 2008.

New York's latest setback came Tuesday evening against visiting Tampa Bay, as Chris Gratton posted two goals and an assist to lift the Lightning to a 5-3 decision. Tampa had dropped seven straight games before posting the win in the Big Apple.

Michal Rozsival recorded a goal and an assist for the Rangers, Paul Mara added two helpers and Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals on 25 shots.

The Rangers, who are 13-9-0 as the host this year, are playing the middle test of a three-game homestand tonight. The Blueshirts will also host Montreal on Saturday to wrap up the residency.

01/10 10:45:55 ET

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