Tonight on CNBC, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Philadelphia Flyers starting at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:
• The Flyers and Rangers face off tonight in their first playoff meeting since the 1997 Eastern Conference Final, which Philadelphia won in five games before being swept by Detroit for the Stanley Cup. The Flyers hold a 27-20 edge in games and 6-4 lead in series; the Rangers’ last series victory over Philadelphia came in the 1986 Patrick Division semifinals (they are 0-3 since).
• This series features two teams that qualified for the playoffs after dreadful starts to the season. The Flyers went through an in-season coaching change, installing Craig Berube to replace Peter Laviolette after the team lost its first three games of the season. The Rangers, in their first year under coach Alain Vigneault, played their season’s first nine games on the road while Madison Square Garden completed a three-year renovation project.
• Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who signed a seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension in December, experienced a rough first half of the 2013-14 season (through Jan. 6), but picked it up substantially in the second half (Jan. 8 until the end of the season).
• Lundqvist, who surpassed Mike Richter as the Rangers’ all-time leader in regular-season wins on Mar. 18, has not yet matched the career postseason prowess of Richter, who backstopped the Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup.
• Flyers captain Claude Giroux went the first 15 games this season without scoring a goal (he had seven assists during that span). Giroux then scored 28 goals in his next 67 games and finished with 86 points (28-58=86), third in the league. In four postseasons with the Flyers, Giroux has 55 points (21-34=55), 11th on the franchise’s all-time list; three more points and he’ll pass Eric Lindros (24-33=57) for 10th.
• Rangers winger Rick Nash has led his team in goals in each of his two seasons in New York, since arriving in a trade from Columbus on July 23, 2012. Of Nash’s team-leading 21 goals in 44 games in 2012-13, 13 were scored in the third period; in 2013-14, Nash scored only seven of his 26 goals (65 games) in the third.
• Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds set career highs this season with 29 goals and 60 points. Since arriving in Philadelphia with Brayden Schenn in the June 23, 2011 trade that sent Mike Richards (then the Flyers’ captain) to Los Angeles, Simmonds has scored a team-best 72 goals for the Flyers – 32 of them on the power play.