Gameday: First game of crucial home-and-home today in Philly

  #7 New York Rangers (35-25-8, 78 pts) at #4 Philadelphia Flyers (36-20-10, 82 pts)
Wachovia Center - 1:00 PM EST - Philadelphia, PA
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 206
This is the open game thread.
Behind Enemy Lines: Rangerland, NY Rangers Blog

So apparently I never hit "publish" on my game recap from the Washington game, so i'll just throw some of my thoughts in here and call it even. But first, to today's game. The Rangers come to town for the first game of a home-and-home series, and for the first time since John Tortorella took over as head coach. The Flyers 5-2 drubbing of the Rangers at MSG in mid-February was part of a 2-12 stretch for the team that essentially led to ex-coach Tom Renney's firing.

But things are looking up in Rangerland now that Torts is on board. New York is 4-2-1 since he took over, and after falling out of the playoff picture momentarily, they now sit in the seventh spot.

These two games are big for the Flyers. The loss to Washington on Thursday night was deserved, but they are lucky that it was a close game. I thought the defense looked atrocious the entire game, and that the only reason it was close was Martin Biron's excellent goaltending.  Back-to-back losses against teams in playoff position this time of year are unacceptable, and the Flyers need to go out today and take care of their business. Two wins for the Rangers would put them in a tie with the Flyers, a clear illustration of how big this weekend is.

Between the Pipes: Martin Biron gets his fourth straight start today and boy does he ever deserved it. He's starting to assert himself as the number one guy here with his excellent play down the stretch. After a terrible game against the Rangers in the season opener (he was pulled in the first period), he rebounded in that 5-2 win last month.

For the Rangers it's Henrik Lundqvist, who got the loss last month after allowing four goals in just 27 minutes. He was pulled for Steve Valiquette, but the move proved too little too late.

New York Rangers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Henrik Lundqvist stomach 03/12/2009

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Erik Reitz foot 02/26/2009

Questions To Answer

  1. Important weekend series. Do they step up?
  2. How does Sean Avery impact the Rangers? How's the crowd react to him?
  3. Is there a noticeable difference in the Rangers with Tortorella behind the bench?
  4. Biron... again, can he keep it up?

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