As if a game against the Flyers wouldn't be special, Friday night's fight is the most important match of the season for the Rangers. Faceoff is at 7 at the Garden and can be seen on Versus or MSG-Plus. For those going, they announced during Wednesday's game that the team is giving out t-shirts - an actual giveaway! It must be one heckuva occasion ...
Where We Are: Two wins and we're in. That simple. As John Giannone tweeted tonight, "Regulation L Fri means elimination. OT loss puts PHI & MTL in playoff and BOS would need 1 pt in last 2 gms or NYR loss Sun." Boston has 87 points with two games to go and Montreal has 87 with one left.
Where They Are: The Flyers have 86 and we have 84 with the home-and-home left on the agenda. Philly lost the first two games they played this month but won the last two - beating Detroit 4-3 on Sunday and Toronto 2-0 Tuesday. Neither win was convincing as Detroit had backup Chris Osgood in net and zero tough guys in the lineup to counter the Flyer thugs. Toronto ... well, we saw just how good they were on Wednesday and they came inches away from forcing overtime.
Who To Watch For: That evil muppet Scott Hartnell hasn't scored in 10 games and won't have Sean Avery on the ice to counter his antics (or distract him). Jeff Carter is coming off of a broken left foot but is likely to make the lineup. Claude Giroux has six points in his last five games, picking up some slack for the slumping Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. And you can never forget about Arron Asham; the former Isle and Devil always steps up his game against the Rangers and has four points in his last six.
What To Watch For: The Rangers attacking hard and fast - that goal by Christy in the opening seconds of Wednesday's game pretty much ended the game before it started and if the Rangers can get to Boucher quickly, it could help stem the tide. Ian Laperriere, Danny Carcillo, Chris Pronger and Asham to hit anything and everything. Their physical brand of hockey cowed the Wings on Sunday and is their bread and butter.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: A resolute Ranger defense that doesn't allow Hartnell to harass Hank. None of the Blueshirts pulling a Colton Orr and attacking a Flyer unprovoked; shockingly enough Shelley, Prust and Voros are more valuable on the ice than off it. However, if there is just cause, pulling an Orr is a good thing, as evidenced by this battle from Tuesday. Olli Jokinen shooting the puck - he had eight shots against Toronto and it was his best game since the break. Marian Gaborik sticking it to Carcillo with a hat trick.
Also Check Out: Flyer Files is a MSM blog, SBN hosts Broad Street Hockey and you can stop by The 700 Level.