Flyers at Rangers
The New York Rangers have stumbled out of their NHL-mandated five-day break with losses against a pair of Metropolitan Division foes. New York bids to regain its footing versus another in the opener of a two-game homestand on Tuesday night when it faces the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time this season.
The Rangers saw their overall losing skid extend to three games and fell to 3-5-2 in their last 10 contests after being outscored 12-4 over the weekend in setbacks to the Islanders and Pittsburgh. “I think the past month, the level is just not high enough. (You) almost get tired of yourself sitting here, trying to find the right thing to say,” said Henrik Lundqvist, who routinely has flustered the Flyers to the tune of posting a 34-14-4 career mark with four shutouts and a .919 save percentage. Philadelphia has found its offense by recording 21 goals and converting 7 of 14 power-play opportunities during its four-game winning streak. “When you look at the Metro now, it’s so stacked up you cannot afford to lose a game,” forward Jakub Voracek (NHL-best 45 assists) told Philly.com.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TVAS, NBCS Philadelphia, MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE FLYERS (20-15-8): Snubbed for inclusion to the upcoming NHL All-Star Game, Sean Couturier perhaps is taking out his frustrations by notching multi-point performances in each contest during Philadelphia’s winning streak. The 25-year-old top-line center extended his career-high goal total to 25 by tallying twice in each of his last three games while also adding an assist to conclude a three-point effort in Saturday’s 5-3 win over New Jersey. Captain Claude Giroux, who was named to the All-Star Game, also is riding a four-game point streak and has 26 points (three goals, 23 assists) in his last 16 contests overall while Voracek has 23 points (one goal, 22 assists) in his past 17.
ABOUT THE RANGERS (22-17-5): Michael Grabner recorded his team-leading 19th goal and the 150th of his career after converting on a breakaway in the first period of Sunday’s 5-2 setback in Pittsburgh. The 30-year-old Austrian looks to continue his scoring surge versus Philadelphia, against which he has three goals and an assist in his last five encounters. Fellow forward Mats Zuccarello (team-leading 24 assists, 32 points) also fared well versus the Flyers by setting up four goals in last season’s series and has three assists in his five games this month.
1. New York has won 12 of its last 14 home games versus Philadelphia.
2. Flyers G Brian Elliott has yielded at least three goals in six straight outings
3. Philadelphia D Shayne Gostisbehere returned to practice on Monday after missing Friday and Saturday with an illness.