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Flyers vs. Rangers preview: Crucial homestand kicks off vs. New York

The Flyers open a crucial homestand against the Rangers tonight in South Philly.

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, the 2013 Philadelphia Flyers are actually a pretty darn good team on home ice, and with tonight;s game against the New York Rangers kicking off a five-game homestand, this is truly their final opportunity to make up some ground in the playoff race and get back in contention.

New York Rangers (15-13-3, 33) at Philadelphia Flyers (13-16-2, 28)
7:30 p.m. | Wells Fargo Center | South Philadelphia
TV: CSN Philly, NBCSN, MSG, TSN | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the New York perspective at Blueshirt Banter

They're not within striking distance by their own merit, of course, but instead because just about the entire conference is as awful as they are. The Flyers are in 13th place in the East entering tonight's game, and they sit just five points behind the eighth-place Rangers. With a regulation win this evening they could be just three points out of the final playoff spot, and hey ... if all things fall correctly, they could launch ahead of one of the five teams ahead of them in the playoff chase.

A loss tonight, however, would be devastating. The Islanders and Capitals go head-to-head, so one of those teams will finish the night with 33 points. Luckily, the Flyers have a game in hand over each of them, but that doesn't matter much if the Flyers are giving up points. They need a win tonight if they want to make this playoff race thing feel real.

Tye McGinn will return to the lineup for the Flyers. He'll take Danny Briere's spot in the lineup and will almost certainly play in the top six. According to reports from Philadelphia, he's going to be on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, so that should be fun. Go get 'em, Ginner.

Nicklas Grossmann is likely still out tonight so get your Kurtis Foster jerseys ready. Ilya Bryzgalov vs. Henrik Lundqvist in net, of course.

Questions to Answer

1. How does McGinn look now that he's back?

2. Ilya Bryzgalov has been lights out; the Flyers best player in the past few games. Can he outduel Lundqvist?

3. Rick Nash burned the Flyers last time these teams met. Can they stop him tonight?

4. Back on March 5, the Rangers exploited every single problem the Flyers have this season. We can do better than that, right gentlemen?