NHL on NBCSN: Rangers look to keep good times rolling

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Tuesday’s matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Sometimes a team needs an old swift kick in the behind.

When the New York Rangers lost 7-5 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 13, head coach David Quinn referred to his team’s performance that night as a “freaking joke,” and said they “failed miserably.”

The team had lost six of its previous seven and the rookie NHL coach needed a response. Since that date, the Rangers have won three straight, including wins against the Boston Bruins and the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders.

On Tuesday, the Rangers will try to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games as they play their out of their bye week.

The formula to winning recently has defense. The Rangers have conceded just seven goals during their current heater, matching the total they allowed in the loss to Columbus. For Quinn, the Rangers need to produce more of the same.

“Looking at the Bruins game, I thought we had a good night, did a lot of good things, we defended well,” Quinn said. “One thing I like, we’ve really defended much better over the last few games, and when we have given up a chance, that’s been it. At our level, when you can minimize your chances and not have two or three quickly follow the one, you’ve got a chance, and I think that’s what we’ve done a good job of.”

Good defense has translated to the penalty kill, too. The Rangers are operating at 90.9 percent (20-of-22) over their past five games. They were just 61.9 percent in the five games before that.

In terms of offense, New York will be hoping Mika Zibanejad can extend his five-game point streak. In his past seven games, the Rangers forward has six goals and four assists and leads the team with 44 points.

The Rangers will turn to Alexandar Georgiev, who will start in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who took part in NHL All-Star Weekend. Georgiev is 6-8-0 in 16 games this season (13 starts) with .895 save percentage and 3.43 goals against average.

[RELATED: Hart shines as Flyers win fourth straight]

The Flyers will be looking to make it five wins on the trot after another impressive performance against the Winnipeg Jets in a 3-1 win on Monday.

Philadelphia, who are 12 points adrift for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, have adapted to life as spoilers quite well as of late. Wins over Minnesota, Montreal, Boston and Winnipeg have seen the Flyers playing some of their best hockey of the year as the Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline approaches.

A lot of that is due to the play of Carter Hart, who has started in all four of those wins, including a 31-save effort against Winnipeg on Monday. Hart became the first goalie to win four straight starts before turning 21 since Steve Mason did it with the Blue Jackets in 2008-09.

The Flyers will hope to have Shayne Gostisbehere back in the lineup after he was made a late scratch prior to the Winnipeg game.

Gord Miller (play-by-play) and McGuire will call the action from New York. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen with Jeremy Roenick and Anson Carter.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

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