Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers

NHL Extra: Breaking down Flyers vs. Rangers

Looking for the numbers breakdown for how these two teams stack up? Look no further as we’ve got you covered as the Rangers take on the Flyers at 12:30 p.m. ET from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Insider’s Preview

CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio wonders which Flyers team will show up against the Rangers this afternoon.

Team scoring

Overall this year, the Rangers have scored 220 goals, a mark that puts them 15th in the NHL. Their average is… well, rather average at 2.72 goals per game  – a number that puts them 17th overall in the NHL. Brandon Dubinsky is their leading scorer with 52 points (23 goals, 29 assists). Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan each have 23 goals this year leading the charge there. The Rangers have five players with 20+ goals (Dubinsky, Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle, and Derek Stepan).

Philadelphia’s offense is a bit better. They’ve scored 245 goals this season, a mark that puts them fourth overall in the NHL. They goals per game average is a stellar 3.10, a mark that only trails Detroit, Vancouver, and Chicago in the league. Claude Giroux is leading the team in scoring with 72 points (25 goals, 47 assists) while Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere are the top goal scorers with 36 and 32 respectively. Unfortunately for Philly, Briere is out of today’s game.

Goaltending

There’s a stark difference between these two teams and it comes in goal. The Rangers come at you with all-world superstar Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is 33-26-5 this season with a 2.26 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. Add in the 11 shutouts he’s got this year and you’ve got yourself a potential Vezina Trophy finalist. Lundqvist has been the biggest reason for the Rangers success this year. Now if they can just get him the goals to support him…

Philadelphia has been working an effective two-headed monster approach in goal with Brian Boucher and rookie Sergei Bobrovsky. Boucher this season is 17-10-4 with a 2.45 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Meanwhile, Sergei Bobrovsky’s record is 28-12-6 with a 2.49 goals against average and a .918 save percentage. Bobrovsky gets the call to start this afternoon.

Special teams

The Rangers penalty kill runs at 83.2% efficiency, good for 13th in the NHL. Their power play, while still average, has improved a bit since Bryan McCabe arrived. The Rangers score 17.2% with the man advantage. A rate like that is good for 15th in the league. Acquiring McCabe didn’t make huge headlines, but it’s made a difference on the man advantage.

Philadelphia;s power play has been a bit more inept since we last saw them. The Flyers score 16.4% of the time, good for 21st in the league. The Flyers PK is outstanding killing 83.8% of the power plays they face, a mark good for eighth in the league. If you can’t score on the man advantage, you’d better be able to stop the opponents and the Flyers can do that.

Streaks and standings

The Flyers are the top team in the Atlantic Division with 102 points. After Washington’s overtime win over Buffalo last night, the Flyers are out of the Eastern Conference’s top spot for the first time in a long time this year. They’re three better than Boston in second place in the East. Meanwhile, the Penguins are lurking behind them in the Atlantic  by two points. A win for the Flyers today would get them back into first in the East and pad their lead on Pittsburgh. The Flyers have lost six of their last nine games to help put themselves in this precarious position.

New York is eighth in the Eastern Conference with 87 points. Their lead on ninth place Carolina is just one point and tenth place Toronto lurks behind them by three points. With the Rangers struggles of late losing three of their last four, Carolina and Toronto both have crept back into the picture. A Rangers win today would be destructive to both of their causes as it would then put Buffalo in eighth with 88 points and put both Toronto and Carolina another point further behind in the race for the playoffs.

NHL Extra

If you’d like to ask James and I questions and get our thoughts on today’s game, you can join us for NHL Extra online and follow along with the action that way. To join us for NHL Extra click here. We’ll be kicking things off at 12:30 p.m.

Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

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For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.

Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.

But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.

Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.

When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.

Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.

The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
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Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

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The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.