NHL on NBCSN: Rangers host Flyers on Rivalry Night


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the New York Rangers host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The last time the Philadelphia Flyers faced the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, New York knocked them out of the playoffs with a 2-1 win in Game 7 of a first-round series. Considering the Rangers’ long run to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, it’s easy for some to forget how close they were to falling to Philly … but the Flyers probably haven’t forgotten.

Both proud franchises are stumbling a bit coming into “Rivalry Night.”

The Rangers are technically ahead of the Flyers in standings points (18 to 16), yet they’ve required two more games to get there; ultimately they’re both in the same spot.

The Rangers are on a three-game losing streak, including Monday’s 5-1 loss to former captain Ryan Callahan and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Most troubling is that New York only has one win in its last six games.

Things might not seem as dire for Philly – its current slump was preceded by three straight wins – yet the bottom line is that both teams have a lot of work to do at this point in the 2014-15 campaign.

In and out of the lineups

Wednesday serves to be a challenge for red-hot Flyers forward Brayden Schenn. He has three goals and seven points in the last five games, and with Claude Giroux on the shelf, Schenn is getting a shot at first-line duty between R.J. Umberger and Jakub Voracek.

Voracek’s been outrageous so far this season, with 26 points in 16 games. That ties him for the NHL scoring lead with Sidney Crosby, who has played in one extra contest this season.

There’s a chance that Andrew MacDonald and Luke Schenn may return to the mix for Philly tonight, although head coach Craig Berube seems to be betting against that.

With Henrik Lundqvist struggling mightily, perhaps Cam Talbot can right the ship much like he did early last season? He’s getting his first start in six games tonight.


Will either team start to get it together tonight? Maybe, maybe not … but it could be an especially hostile edition of “Rivalry Night.”

Video: Letang’s fake shot, sweet pass tricks Price

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Steve Downie got credited with his third goal of the season in the first period of tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, but it was defenseman Kris Letang that did most of the work.

Letang faked a shot that tricked Carey Price, which presented Downie with a wide open net after he was fed the puck.

That was just one sequence in what has been a night to forget for Montreal and Price. With 20 minutes left to play in regulation time, Pittsburgh has a 4-0 lead thanks to goals from Downie, Beau Bennett, Brandon Sutter, and Sidney Crosby.

Video: Rangers’ defenseman Dan Boyle saves a goal

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who is goalless in his last seven games, nearly scored the game’s first goal tonight against the New Your Rangers. However, Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle managed to clear the bouncing puck from the crease.


Bernier’s strong effort can’t save Leafs vs. Penguins

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Jonathan Bernier kicked out 39 of 41 shots tonight, but that wasn’t enough for the Maple Leafs as Pittsburgh still ended up earning a 2-1 win.

Bernier deserves credit for more than just the quantity of saves he made tonight. He had to make some big stops with perhaps the best example coming late in the second period when he squashed Evgeni Malkin’s golden opportunity:

Malkin was ultimately held off the scoresheet, but Pascal Dupuis found a way to best Bernier twice. Of course, being reunited with his old linemate, Sidney Crosby, helped.

Toronto defenseman Cody Franson scored at 6:31 of the third period to extend his point streak to five games and make things interesting, but it proved to be too little, too late.

The Maple Leafs’ three-game winning streak has come to an end while Pittsburgh has now won eight of its last nine contests.

Crosby expects ‘motivated’ Leafs team

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The Toronto Maple Leafs used a recent embarrassment at the hands of the Boston Bruins to provide motivation for Wednesday evening’s game against that same Bruins side.

The tactic seemed to work, given the Leafs pounded the B’s, 6-1.

Well, guess what? The Leafs host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, the same team that smoked them, 5-2, on Oct. 11.

“You expect them to be pretty motivated,” said Pens captain Sidney Crosby, who had a goal and two assists in that 5-2 win. “They feel pretty good about their game right now; they’re confident.”

Meanwhile, Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, perhaps mindful of his team’s past inconsistencies, warned against getting “too far ahead of ourselves. Sure, we feel good about ourselves right now, but who’s coming [tonight]?”

Not to mention, the Pens were embarrassed themselves the other night in New York, falling 5-0 to the Rangers. That loss broke Pittsburgh’s seven-game win streak.

Is Crosby expecting a bounce-back?

“We’ll see tonight, right?” he said. “You see how you respond after a game like that.”