Sunday afternoon NHL action and a pair of teams from the Metro Division will square off as the Philadelphia Flyers grapple with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Flyers enter this game off a 2-1 OT win over the Blue Jackets on the road, while the Rangers will be playing this game on no rest as they have a road game against Ottawa on Saturday. Goalie Probables: Michal Neuvirth will get the nod for the Flyers and he may be opposed by Alexandar Georgiev.
Flyers Topple Struggling Blue Jackets In OT
The Philadelphia Flyers are playing well again as their roller coaster of a season continues. They come in off a huge 2-1 OT win on the road over the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets and they have now won five of their last six games to move into 3rd place in the Metro division and 5th place in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. The Flyers missed the postseason, but they have a good shot at getting there, but there is still plenty of time and plenty of work to do and they do have just a five-point lead over Columbus, which is in the 9th spot. That is why the win over the Jackets was so big. Scoring for the Flyers in the win was Wayne Simmonds, which was his 20th of the year and Sean Couturier, whose team-leading 29th of the year came just 1:52 into the OT period to give the Flyers the win. The Flyers have gone 15-14 on the road and they have averaged 2.86 gpg and have allowed 2.72 gpg in those games.
Grabbing the win against the Blue Jackets was Michal Neuvirth, who stopped 35 of the 36 shots that he faced to improve to 8-10 with a 2.48 GAA and a .919 save percentage on the year, including 4-3 with a 2.29 GAA and a .927 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 44-63 with a 2.84 GAA on the road and 13-20 with a 2.65 GAA against the Metro Division, while against the Rangers he has gone 1-5 with a 4.34 GAA.
The Flyers have been above average on offense as they come into this game ranked 12th in the league in scoring at 2.95 gpg, while also ranking 18th in shots taken (31.6 spg) and 6th in power play conversions, converting on 21.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been average as they come in ranked 15th in goals allowed, giving up 2.84 gpg, while also ranking 3rd in shots allowed (30.1 spg) and 28th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 25.0% of their chances.
The Rangers Need To Find More Offense
The New York Rangers are really struggling as they have lost 12 of their last 17 games, prior to Saturday, and a big reason for that has been their lack of offense. That offense has struggled and it was never more evident in their recent game against the Islanders as they were shutout in that game. The Islanders were last in the league in terms of goals allowed and it was just their first shutout of the year. This team has issues if they were shutout by the Islanders. The Rangers have now averaged just 2.17 gpg over their last 23 games and that just won’t get it done in the league these days. If they don’t find their offense, then they will not be apart of the postseason party. Leading the team in scoring has been Michael Grabner with 23 goals, while 2nd is Rick Nash with 17 and 3rd is Mika Zibanejad with 16. The Rangers have gone 18-13 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.03 gpg and have allowed 2.74 gpg in those games.
Alexandar Georgiev may get the start in this one and it would be his first-career NHL start. He was 12-11-2 with a 2.97 GAA and a .908 save percentage for the Hartford Wolf Pack this year. It could be Henrik Lundqvist in the crease for this one and he has gone 23-23 with a 2.74 GAA and a .918 save percentage on the year, including 16-9 with a 2.66 GAA and a .915 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 244-173 with a 2.24 GAA here at the Garden and 55-46 with a 2.48 GAA against the Metro Division, while against the Flyers he has gone 35-18 with a 2.37 GAA.
The Rangers have been a bit below average on offense so far as they come into this game ranked 21st in the league in scoring at 2.81 gpg, while also ranking 20th in shots taken (30.4 spg) and 14th in power play conversions, converting on 20.4% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been below average as they come in ranked 21st in goals allowed, giving up 3.00 gpg, while also ranking 28th in shots allowed (33.9 spg) and 10th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 17.9% of their chances.
- None Available
New York is:
- The Under is 4-1 in their last five home games following a road trip of seven or more days
Michal Neuvirth has bad numbers against the Rangers in his career, but can a very bad Rangers’ offense get their act together against him? I don’t see it happening, especially since they will be a bit tired as they are playing on no rest and Neuvirth does have a solid 2.29 GAA on the road. The Flyers have been a decent offensive team this year, but I see either Georgiev or Lundqvist having what it takes to slow them down. This just does not have the feel of a high-scoring game, especially with the Rangers being a bit tired and the early start time. Take the Under here.