PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 26: Taylor Pyatt #14 of the New York Rangers hits Luke Schenn #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers into the boards during the first period at the Wells Fargo Center on March 26, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NHL on NBCSN: Rangers continue fight for playoff spot vs Flyers

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NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers host the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 p.m. ET.

They haven’t been mathematically eliminated yet, but realistically, the Philadelphia Flyers are not going to make the playoffs.

That doesn’t mean they’ve given up. Just ask the Montreal Canadiens, who were overwhelmed by a frustrated Flyers team last night. Scott Hartnell had a hat trick as the Flyers earned a crushing 7-3 victory.

“We’re still playing for a lot of pride,” Luke Schenn said in a CSN Philly report. “I don’t think we’re ever going to throw in the towel. These [final seven] games, we’ve got to compete hard. Losing can’t become accepted, that’s just the mentality you’ve got to have around here.”

Fair enough, but the Rangers know that it will be more than just their pride that’s wounded if they come up flat against the Flyers tonight.

New York has won two straight games, but they are in eighth place and have just a two-point cushion over the Winnipeg Jets, albeit with a game in hand.

The Rangers schedule is odd in the sense that they will only play teams currently shy of a playoff spot or already eliminated from consideration. At the same time, teams with nothing left but personal pride to fight for can be dangerous and the Rangers will have to play seven games in just 12 days.

That exhausting stretch could weigh on them in the final games of the season, which makes picking up points now when they’re relatively rested and facing a team at the end of a three games in four days stretch all the more critical.

Probable goaltenders: PHI – Steve Mason (3-8-1, 2.75 GAA, .904 SV%) | NYR – Henrik Lundqvist (19-14-3, 2.06 GAA, .928 SV%)

Top scorers: PHI – Jakub Voracek (18-24-42, 42 GP) and Claude Giroux (13-29-42, 42 GP) | NYR – Rick Nash (17-18-35, 37 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Philadelphia – Forwards: Zac Rinaldo (ankle), Maxime Talbot (leg), Jody Shelley (hip) Defensemen: Kent Huskins (concussion), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion), Chris Pronger (concussion)
New York – Forwards: Derek Dorsett (shoulder) Defensemen: Marc Staal (eye), Michael Sauer (concussion)

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.