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NHL on NBCSN: Flyers, Rangers duel for home ice advantage

Mar 26, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

The Philadelphia Flyers scuffle with the New York Rangers during the first period of the NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) AP

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

If the regular season ended today, the Flyers and Rangers would play against each other in the first round.

That makes this game an opportunity for both teams to send a message, but it’s also a chance for either squad to gain an edge in the battle for the second seed in the Metropolitan Division and home ice advantage in the opening series. The Rangers have a point lead over Philadelphia, but the Flyers have played in two less games.

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That extra game at home would be big in a series between Philadelphia and New York, given how poorly the Flyers have done at Madison Square Garden. Philadelphia has surrendered seven straight contests there by a margin of 28-8.

Of course, in order for the Flyers to improve their chances of avoiding a Game 7 at the Garden, they need to end that streak tonight.

“It’s a tough building. I don’t know what it is about it,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’ll have to make sure the first period is our best period and go from there.”

Meanwhile, the Rangers will have their own set of challenges to overcome. They won’t have 22-year-old Chris Kreider at their disposal after he suffered a reported hand injury.

The status of Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan is also up in the air. Both players attempted to work through an illness on Monday, but their ice time was limited and afterwards Rangers coach Alain Vigneault openly admitted that he shouldn’t have put them in the lineup.

“I should have taken that out of their hands. I saw them at 4 o’clock,” Vigneault told the Bergen Record. “They didn’t look good. They both said they wanted to play but, at the end of the day, I’ve got to take that out of their hands because they had no energy and, obviously, it showed.”

If he is healthy enough to play though, then St. Louis will be someone worth keeping a close eye on. He has just three assists in 11 games since joining the Rangers, but if he steps up in a big game like tonight’s, against his long-time teammate and fellow former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, then his slow post-trade start will be easy to forget.

  1. yougotgirouxed - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    This will be a battle tonight. I’m pumped. I think we’ll come to play which is good because we will need 60 mins to beat this team

    • 7mantel - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      NYR also need to play 60 min.to beat your Flyers !

  2. kastout11 - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Crucial game for Philly tonight. Yes, they have played well their last 6 games and earned points that I didn’t expect them to get. With Kreider out and Stepan and St. Louis not at 100%, Philly should have an advantage. If they win in regulation, they will have a 1 point lead with 2 games in hand, but if they lose, they are down by 3 points with Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Boston twice remaining. I might be greedy, but I will not be satisfied with just getting into the playoffs, I want home ice against the Rangers.

    • yougotgirouxed - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Home ice for the flyers I think will mean a lot more to them than home ice for the rangers. We have a hard time in MSG. Must be a mental thing…

  3. 7mantel - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Pulling for these two teams because of the negative post earlier this season ! As a NYR fan I’m looking for a win tonight,and get those 2 points !

  4. toiletclown - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    turd bowl tonight.

    • coopjr - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      “A Day in the Life of toiletclown”

      • toiletclown - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        clever. you must be from philthy

    • cofran2004 - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      Still high fiving yourself, I see. Only one thumb up, and I’m 100% sure that it came from you.

      How’s it feel to suck so hard at life that even the other trolls don’t like your posts?

    • broadstreetbeatdown - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      Is that where you’re spending the evening a$$clown?

  5. nyeagles10 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Could be the best game to watch this season when it comes to rangers/ flyers. Happy both teams were able to turn there seasons around. LGRRR

  6. stepanup - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    I am incredibly excited for this matchup. The Flyers have been incredible, and the Rangers have a little streak going too. The Rangers still need to prove to me that they’re legitimate, and winning this game would do a lot. Two days have probably done a ton for Stepan and St Louis so I’m not worried about them. Time to unleash Nash and St Louis together!

    I’d expect NBC is amped too, new ratings mark for Wednesday Night Rivalry tonight?

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