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)
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)