- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
- 0 Shares
At a glance: The Rangers return to Philadelphia for the first time since beating the hometown Flyers 3-2 in the NHL’s 2012 Winter Classic last month. Bringing with them a 4-0 series edge, the Blueshirts look to collect their fifth win of the season against their Atlantic Division rivals.
Last time around: The Rangers beat the Flyers 5-2 last Sunday in a gritty, physical game that featured a three-point performance by Rangers forward Artem Anisimov (one goal, two assists). The nasty rivalry continued to escalate as eight fighting majors were dished out between the two teams. Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel and Flyers winger Tom Sestito both finished with two scraps apiece.
Back between the pipes: After Martin Biron received the nod in net for Thursday’s match against the Bolts, starter Henrik Lundqvist returns in goal for the Rangers. The 29-year-old, second in the league in both save percentage (.939) and goals against average (1.80), aims to record his 25th win of the season.
Hairy situation: The NHL’s Department of Player Safety reviewed an incident during Sestito’s tussle with Brandon Prust at 1:35 of the third last Sunday, when Sestito pulled Prust’s hair during the fight. The Rangers tough guy told ESPNNewYork.com that Sestito's maneuver was something “you just don’t do.” Sestito avoided any supplementary discipline, however.
Head case: Ruslan Fedotenko will miss Saturday’s matinee after taking an ugly hit from Tampa Bay’s Dominic Moore early in the third period of the Rangers 4-3 overtime win over the Lightning. Fedotenko, who lay on the ice for several minutes before being helped off to the trainer’s room, did not practice yesterday. Although it is assumed the 33-year-old veteran suffered a concussion on the play, the Rangers have given no official update on his status. Moore was fined $2,500 for the blow, the maximum amount allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Seven D: With Fedotenko out, the Rangers will play seven defensemen against the Flyers. Bickel, who was scratched Thursday in favor of the now-healthy Steve Eminger, returns to the lineup. The rugged 25-year-old defenseman has recorded five assists and 48 penalty minutes in 21 games for the Rangers this season.
Rough stuff: Sugar and spice and everything nice? Not quite. The fifth meeting of the teams is certain to include some snarl with both squads ranking among the top three in the NHL in fighting majors. The Rangers lead the league with 44 while Philadelphia occupyies third place with 40.
65dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald