New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers promise a black and blue Friday
In the first matchup of the season between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers, the two hated rivals promise to make this Black Friday turn into a black and blue Friday.
The New York Rangers are pissed off.
And they should be.
After defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Monday night in a phenomenal comeback which saw them score 5 unanswered goals, the team got absolutely rocked at home two days later by the same Penguins team by the final score of 6-1.
The final score didn’t even tell the whole story, as the Rangers actually played worse than you’d think a team that gave up five goals yield.
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There was a stretch at the end of the second period and until the final few minutes of the third, 23:58 to be exact, where the Rangers couldn’t even manage a shot on goal. In a game in which they were trailing since thefive-minutee mark of the second period, seeing the team lack urgency was very disheartening.
The team knows that they will need to be better against perhaps their most hated rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers enter today’s action with a 9-9-3 record. The team has scored the second most goals in the Eastern Conference this year, but they also rank dead last in the NHL in goals allowed. Goalie Steve Mason will get his sixth straight start in the contest.
The Rangers will need to watch the Flyers top line of Brayden Schenn, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, as they have been extremly dangerous to start the year. The trio has combined for 14 goals and 33 assists so far this year which has been the Flyers most productive line by far.
As for the Rangers, Alain Vigneault switched up the team’s lines during their Thanksgiving Day practice.
The Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller line will be split up completely accross the team’s top three lines. The first line will be Grabner with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. The second unit is really intriguing, as it features Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello, who has six points in his last seven games. Miller will be on a line with Brandon Pirri at center and Jimmy Vesey on the left wing. The fourth line will look different, too. Matt Puempel may be making his first apperance as a New York Ranger in place of Oscar Lindberg on the line with Josh Jooris and Jesper Fast.
Players to watch in today’s game
5. Jimmy Vesey– This is Vesey’s first time back in Philly since his pre season apperance that saw Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas take a cheap shot on him and viciously hit him into the boards. Vesey was shaken up but didn’t miss any time. The young Massachusetts native has only one goal in his last eleven games, so the Rangers hope that he will be able to get going.
4. Steve Mason- Mason has started five straight games for the Flyers and has gone 2-2-1 in those games. Mason has lost three straight meetings with the Rangers and will look to turn things around in this matchup. With Michael Neuvirth out long term, Mason is the guy, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the workload.
3. Shayne Gostisbehere– There were rumors flying rampid around social media that the Flyers were looking to move the electrifying young defenseman which, as you might imagine, were fake. Gostisbehere is one of the best young players in the league, and it is always fun to watch a guy like him play. Gostisbehere has three points in his last two games against the New York Rangers. He needs to be keyed on by the Rangers’ defense from the get-go.
2. Travis Koneckny- The 19-year-old rookie has been fantastic for the Flyers so far. He has 4 goals and 12 points through 21 games and will play on a line with the Flyers’ point leader Wayne Simmonds and center Nick Cousins. This wil be the Rangers first look at the former 24th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft on Friday.
1. Matt Puempel- The newest New York Ranger is expected to make his debut on Friday on the fourth line with Josh Jooris and Jesper Fast. Puempel doesn’t have a goal this year after playing 13 games for the Otawa Senators on a line with Chris Neil and Chris Kelly and still posting the best corsi for numbers on the team (54.5%). The New York Rangers made a smart move by bringing the 23-year-old former first round pick aboard. Let’s see how he does in his first game in red, white and blue.
Who are your players to watch in Friday’s game? Tweet us @BlueLineStation or comment below to tell us who it is!
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