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Flyers vs. Rangers preview: This remains not fun

The long losing streaks are here to stay.

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers are coming back home to take on the New York Rangers after a tough result against the Boston Bruins. Two teams in the same division on the opposite sides of the NHL standings will be facing off in the second of four total matchups in 2021-22.

The first match between these two teams resulted in an unsurprising 4-1 Flyers loss. Morgan Frost was the lone Flyers contributor, and it was a very forgettable game for the most part. Now, the two teams are headed to Broad Street for the second of four matchups. The final two will be ten days apart in April on the third and the 13th.

The Rangers hold a 24-10-1 record with a 6-3-1 record in their last 10. They have been one of the best teams in the NHL up to this point, and they’re leading the Metropolitan Division by two points. However, the Carolina Hurricanes are right behind them with an absurd four games in hand. What the Rangers have done this season is nothing short of impressive, considering that most “experts” had them somewhere around the middle of the pack, possibly competing for a wild card spot.

The Rangers have a plethora of players to be aware of on the ice. It starts with Russian superstar Artemi Panarin, and it continues with the likes of Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and goaltender Igor Shesterkin. All of those players are threats in their own right. They even have young players like Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko, who have shown flashes of top-tier ability.

The Flyers have less star power, but luckily, they have Joel Farabee, Cam Atkinson, and Claude Giroux, who has been carrying the offensive load for the team. In the last 10 games, the Flyers have a 3-4-3 record, and overall they’re 13-16-7, which is good for sixth in the Metropolitan Division. The team is sitting on a six-game losing streak, and the play has been pretty bleak, to say the least.

In the last five games, Atkinson comes into the game with eight points (3G, 5A), which leads the Flyers in that span of games. Fox is tied with Kreider in the last five games with four points in total. Kreider has four goals while Fox has four assists. It’s going to be a game full of star players taking over and plenty of back and forth hockey, given how the Rangers and head coach Gerard Gallant like to play and how the Flyers typically play defense.

Rangers Player to Watch

Igor Shesterkin

There are so many players that I could tell you to pinpoint during the game. However, the two goalies in this matchup are both in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy. For the Rangers, it’s Shesterkin. He’s leading in almost all goaltender analytics, including goals saved above expected (GSAx), and he leads in save percentage and goals-against average as well. There’s nothing that Shesterkin hasn’t been able to do, and he’s a key reason why the Rangers are in the position they are in at this point in the season. His numbers are simply incredible. He has a 1.99 goals-against average, and a .939 save percentage, which is utterly ridiculous. Currently, it’s hard to say he’s not the Vezina frontrunner, especially if you put more of an emphasis on stats than anything else. The Rangers have played well, but what Shesterkin has done in the net is genuinely incredible.

Flyers Player to Watch

Carter Hart

Carter Hart has also been a Vezina-caliber goaltender on a team with very little defense in front of him on the Flyers’ end. He stopped 33 of 36 shots against the Bruins in a loss, and that has been the summation of his season. His numbers are enough to put him in the Vezina conversation (maybe not a finalist), but the defense in front of him and his team’s success will be a detriment to his case. No matter which way you look at it, he has had a strong bounce-back season after a horrendous one in 2020-21, and even if he isn’t considered in the conversations, the numbers suggest he should be there. Flyers fans can take solace in that. This game will be a battle of the goaltenders, and with the number of superstars that the Rangers have, it’s going to be a tough night for the young kid in the net.

Projected Lineup

Joel Farabee - Claude Giroux - Cam Atkinson

Oskar Lindblom - Scott Laughton - Travis Konecny

James Van Riemsdyk - Kevin Hayes - Gerald Mayhew

Noah Cates- Morgan Frost- Zack MacEwen

Ivan Provorov - Justin Braun

Cam York - Travis Sanheim

Keith Yandle - Nick Seeler

Carter Hart

(Martin Jones)

That’s all from me, everyone! Go Flyers!

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