Rangers-Flyers Preview

Henrik Lundqvist is looking every bit like the reigning Vezina

Trophy winner, and that may eventually be enough to get the New

York Rangers back to the playoffs.

For now, they’ll settle with him continuing his dominance of the

Philadelphia Flyers.

With the Rangers trying to create a cushion for the final

playoff position, Lundqvist is expected to remain in net in an

effort to beat the Flyers for the 12th time in 13 attempts Tuesday

night in Philadelphia.

Lundqvist won last season’s Vezina by going 39-18-5 with a 1.97

goals-against average and eight shutouts. He’s among the NHL

leaders this season with 19 wins and a 2.06 GAA, and his play in

April could be the start of him making a case at another

Vezina.

He’s started all seven games this month, going 5-1-1 with a 1.53

GAA and one shutout, helping the Rangers (21-16-4) move into the

eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

They’re one point behind the seventh-place New York Islanders and

two back of Ottawa for sixth. However, they’re just two points

ahead of ninth-place Winnipeg with seven games to go – one more

than the Jets.

Lundqvist came up big again Saturday, making 29 saves while Dan

Girardi scored with 1:49 left in overtime to clinch a 1-0 road win

over the Islanders.

“He was not the goalie that we know as the season started, but

he has certainly been at the top of his game,” coach John

Tortorella said of Lundqvist, who lost five of his first eight

starts behind a 2.83 GAA. “There’s no coincidence that we’re 5-1-1

and he’s been really good.”

He’s certainly been good against the Flyers (18-21-3), winning

11 of his last 12 meetings with the Atlantic Division rival behind

a 1.66 GAA and two shutouts. That includes winning each of the past

three matchups this season while stopping 81 of 86 shots.

Lundqvist had 32 saves while Derek Stepan had four points and

Rick Nash three in a 5-2 win at Wells Fargo Center on March 26.

Stepan thrives against the Flyers, collecting 17 points in 16

games for his highest total against any opponent. The center has

notched nine of those points in seven visits to Philadelphia, and

he enters this one with nine in seven games this month.

Nash has four goals and one assist in the past two games versus

the Flyers.

New York has won five of the last six games at Philadelphia.

The Flyers, who are seven points back of the Rangers in the

playoff race, are hoping Monday’s 7-3 win at Montreal can provide a

spark heading into the final six games. That matched their highest

scoring output of the season and snapped a four-game slide, during

which they were outscored 12-3.

“It has been a tough year for goals, especially the last few

games,” said left wing Scott Hartnell, who had a hat trick against

the Canadiens to give him seven goals on the season. “You never

know.”

Claude Giroux, who had three points Monday, has five goals and

11 assists in the past 13 games, but Philadelphia only has a 5-6-2

record to show for it.

The captain has 26 points in 27 career meetings with the

Rangers, getting 16 in 13 home games.

Jakub Voracek is tied with Giroux for the team lead with 42

points after also getting three against the Canadiens. The right

wing has scored four goals while setting up four others in the past

five games against New York, but is a minus-3 in that stretch.