Tuesday, January 29, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Flyers
By Katie Strang
At a glance: The Rangers and Flyers find themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic Division after disappointing starts to the 2013 season. The teams look to renew their rivalry Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, their second meeting in five days.
Last time around: The then-winless Flyers knocked off the Rangers to earn their first victory Thursday in Philadelphia. Trailing 2-1, the Blueshirts had a chance to tie the game with a key 5-on-3 opportunity in the third period, but they let that go to waste in what resulted in their third loss of the season. After the game, coach John Tortorella called his first line "invisible."
Lightning strikes: The Flyers are coming off a dispiriting loss to Tampa Bay in which they got thumped 5-1 in backup goalie Michael Leighton's first start of the season. Philadelphia was 0-for-6 on the power play.
Working on it: Entering the game 2-for-22 (9.1 percent) on the power play, the Rangers devoted the last portion of practice Monday to special teams. Tortorella and his players insist the unit is on the verge of breaking through.
Balancing act: Will he or won't he split up the team's front-loaded first line? That will be the question Tortorella faces Tuesday. The trio of Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash have had a few stunning games where they looked downright dangerous, but they've had at least one flop as well. Combined, the three have 19 points on the season, while the rest of the team has only 18 in total. Tortorella says he would like to keep them together but needs to see some production from other lines as well.
Pack your bags:Scott Laughton was sent back to his junior club, the Oshawa Generals, after spending five games with the Flyers. The 18-year-old center, who was selected 20th overall in the draft this past June, was held off the score sheet during his short stint with the big club.
Kreider doubtful: Rangers forward Chris Kreider missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury (bone chip), and although Tortorella described it as "not serious," it appears the winger will be sidelined again on Tuesday. The 21-year-old did not practice with the team Monday.
New arrivals: Both teams boast new additions since the last time they met. In wake of Scott Hartnell's toe injury, the Flyers have signed 40-year-old veteran Mike Knuble to his second tour with the team. Meanwhile, the Rangers got some quality minutes out of recently recalled winger Benn Ferriero, who was acquired in a minor league swap with Pittsburgh last week.