Rangers, Flyers enter matchup looking to rebound

PHILADELPHIA — While the backsliding Philadelphia Flyers are starting to feel pressure from the non-playoff teams of the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers enter Wednesday’s rivalry night showdown coming off a disappointing loss to the struggling Buffalo Sabres.

“I haven’t said this very often about this group since I have been here,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told reporters after Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Sabres at Madison Square Garden, “but this was a very bad game, where we got outworked badly. We are going to have to respond here.”

The Flyers (20-14-5) are coming off an 0-2-1 road trip to St. Louis, San Jose and Anaheim and have gone 1-4-2 since their 10-game win streak ended last month.

“This wasn’t our best road trip,” Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds told Phillynews.com. “The games in St. Louis and San Jose, we thought we needed to compete harder and battle more. We did that (in Sunday’s 4-3 shootout loss in Anaheim).

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the results, but sometimes it’s not that you change the page overnight and get the results you want. You have to keep working at it.”

The Flyers played well against the Ducks, tying a franchise record with 55 shots in a road game.

“We know we’ve been in a little bit of a lull, but if we keep playing like we did (Sunday), we’ll be successful,” defenseman Michael Del Zotto said.

The Flyers activated backup goaltender Michael Neuvirth (knee sprain) on Tuesday and sent callup Anthony Stolarz back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Stolarz appeared in four games and had a 1.79 GAA and a .938 save percentage.

Steve Mason (14-12-5) has started 21 of the last 23 games for the Flyers and is expected to get the call on Wednesday.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals on 19 shots in the loss to the Sabres and could sit the second end of the back-to-backs in favor of Antti Raanta.

Vigneault might also opt to sit out defenseman Kevin Klein, whose turnover led to Justin Bailey’s first NHL goal early in the second period.

If Klein is a healthy scratch, look for Adam Clendening to take his place.

Derek Stepan said the Rangers (26-13-1) need to turn the page quickly from one of their most lopsided losses of an otherwise impressive season.

“I wish I would had an answer,” Stepan said when asked about what was ailing the Rangers. “Whoever figures that one out is going to be a very rich man or woman. … For me, our execution tonight is really what surprised me. We just weren’t even close.”

The Rangers won the last meeting with the Flyers on Nov. 25, prevailing 3-2 win despite getting allowing 78 shot attempts in that game while generating 39.

The Flyers are hoping goals by Travis Konecny, his first in 23 games, and Sean Couturier, who missed five weeks and netted his first since Nov. 17, will help boost the club’s secondary scoring.