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NHL on NBCSN: Flyers, Rangers battle as divisional race tightens

Jan 12, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 24: Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden at 7:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

As we move past the midway point of 2013-14, the Metropolitan Division is heating up. While they were something as a joke early on, the recent rise of the New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Rangers has redefined the playoff race in significant ways.

For starters, the division’s collective success has put the Wild Card, once dominated by the Atlantic Division, back in play. More importantly, just nine points separates the eighth place Islanders and second place Flyers, which raises the stakes of divisional battles like tonight’s.

The Rangers and Flyers are a perfect example of how tight the Metropolitan has become. The Flyers have just a one point lead on New York and are simultaneously tied with the Washington Capitals in terms of points, but are behind based on games played, so a win has the potential to vault either team to second place.

Although both of these squads got off to sluggish offensive starts this season, this has the potential to be a high-scoring affair. The Flyers and Rangers have each scored at least three goals in four straight contests. It will be worth keeping an eye on Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek and the Rangers’ Brad Richards in particular as they represent the hottest forwards this match has to offer.

Tonight’s contest will also feature Dan Carcillo, who spent parts of three campaigns with Philadelphia. After that he went to Chicago and then Los Angeles, but this will be his first match against the Flyers as a member of a divisional rival, so you can be expected to play with an edge.

He won’t be alone in that as these are two of the more physical teams in the NHL and they’re both at an important juncture.

Philadelphia doesn’t want to give up its hard earned momentum with a second consecutive loss after its 6-3 defeat at the hands of Tampa Bay yesterday. Meanwhile, the Rangers have struggled at home this season and will have a hard time making the playoffs if they don’t remedy that. They will play six of their next seven games at home, including tonight’s match.

  1. blackandorangeforlife - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Lets go Flyers 2 points and back in 2nd A loss and drop to 4th Play a full 60!

  2. penguins87and71 - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    This is going to be a very exciting race down the stretch. When teams are playing desperate it’s more exciting of a hockey game.

  3. upper90cheese - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Carcillo vs Simmonds

    • raoool - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Simmonds isn’t that dumb. maybe Carcillo v Rosehill?

      • 7mantel - Jan 12, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        Simmonds proved you wrong ! Carcillo out smarting him whole game !

    • flyerspsu - Jan 12, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      carcillo would lose both

  4. penguins87and71 - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    I’m actually pretty excited for this game. Two big time rivals right now meet head to head. Also why isn’t there NHL on NBC anymore on Sunday afternoon? I used to love the 12:30 start times.

    • cruuuzcontrol - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      It would be a fool’s errand to try and run NHL games of the week against the NFL playoffs. I think the NHL on NBC doesn’t traditionally start until after the NFL season is over. So, either after the NFC/AFC championship games or after the Super Bowl.

      • 7mantel - Jan 12, 2014 at 8:17 PM

        SPOT ON !

  5. mcphillthy - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    These are the kind of games that hockey fans should love. Big points on the line tonight. Tonight we find out who wants it more. The flyers better start off strong because I don’t know how long their legs will last tonight. I hate back to back games

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