NHL: Rangers meet stingy Flyers in Metropolitan Division clash
The New York Rangers will look to win their third straight game after dropping four in a row when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
The Rangers are coming off a 3-2 win at Arizona on Sunday, achieved when Mika Zibanejad’s power-play goal off assists from Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin with 7:04 left proved to be the difference. The Flyers are looking for a bounce-back win after falling in overtime to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Saturday for their second loss in their past three games.
The Rangers got a much-needed off day on Monday after beating Arizona, which came after a 6-3 win at Dallas a day earlier. The Rangers also played back-to-back games earlier in the week, when it followed a 3-2 loss to the visiting Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday with a 3-0 setback at the New York Islanders on Wednesday.
“It’s never easy. Back-to-back games, this is the third one already in 10 games, but you know they found a way,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said Sunday. “I thought they (Rangers) played a great first period, we really played a lot in their zone and then, after that, they took it to us a little bit but overall I thought we played a good, solid game from everybody.”
After finishing in last place in the Metropolitan Division in 2021-22, the Flyers have gotten off to a 5-2-1 start, thanks to their strong goaltending. While their 24 goals scored rank last in the division, they’ve allowed a division-low 21.
The Flyers are second in the league in save percentage at .927. Carter Hart (5-0-1), who will start on Tuesday, has a .938 save percentage and allows an average of 2.31 goals per game. Backup Felix Sandstrom (0-2-0) has a .900 save percentage.
Hart gave up a season-high four goals against the Hurricanes on Saturday. Carolina scored twice in the first period before Martin Necas’ goal with a little over two minutes left sent the game into overtime tied 3-3. Brent Burns’ one-timer ended it with 54 seconds left in the extra session.
“We can play with anybody,” Hart said. “Tonight, they get one early, kind of a fluky bounce. Down two again in the first, but we come back and we score three unanswered goals. That just shows how resilient we are and we’re never out of the fight.
“Obviously disappointing to be on the losing end in overtime, but I thought it was a good effort for us.”
Hart should be tested by the Rangers. Panarin entered the week tied for third in the league with 16 points (five goals, 11 assists), while Zibanejad’s six goals were tied for eighth-most in the NHL. Adam Fox’s nine points (two goals, seven assists) were tied for third among defensemen.
Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (5-0-2) has a .913 save percentage and allows an average of 2.55 goals per game. He’ll likely be challenged by the Flyers’ Kevin Hayes, who has a goal and nine assists, while fellow forward Travis Konecny has four goals and five assists.
–Field Level Media