Rangers-Flyers Preview

BY foxsports • February 5, 2016

Wayne Simmonds' scoring binge has pushed the Philadelphia Flyers to the verge of matching their longest win streak of the season.

The New York Rangers haven't been able to harness J.T. Miller's bevy of goals into an extended run.

Both players have shined in recent matchups between the teams, and Simmonds looks to lead the Flyers to a fourth consecutive victory Saturday.

Simmonds has six goals and three assists in a five-game point streak, and he's scored four times in the past two of his team's three consecutive wins. He had two goals and an assist in the Flyers' highest-scoring performance of the season, a 6-3 victory at Nashville on Thursday.

Simmonds' linemate Claude Giroux also had two goals and an assist while Brayden Schenn scored in a third straight game.

The Flyers (23-18-8) were next-to-last in the league with 2.24 goals per game in their first 46 but have outscored opponents 14-8 during their win streak.

"I said earlier in the year that we weren't getting any bounces. I think things have kind of turned and we're starting to get some bounces," Simmonds said. "We're just staying calm. We're just sticking with our game plan."

Miller has eight goals and one assist in the last eight games, beginning with a 3-2 shootout victory at Philadelphia on Jan. 16. The Rangers, though, have gone just 5-3-0 in that stretch and alternated losses and wins in the past four contests.

They fell 3-2 to New Jersey in their return from the All-Star break Tuesday, their 13th loss in 16 road contests, then bounced back for a 4-2 home win over Minnesota on Thursday.

Miller had the tying goal in the second period as New York (28-18-5) rallied from an early 2-0 deficit and assisted on Derick Brassard's go-ahead tally with 14:14 remaining.

"This was a huge test for us to see where we were as a team," Miller said. "We've been up and down with the wins lately, and to be down 2-0 in the first and hold them to nothing is a good response. It's a good test of character for the group."

Miller has four goals and one assist in his last five against Philadelphia. Simmonds has recorded four goals and two assists in his past four matchups with the Rangers, but his tying goal in the third period couldn't lift the Flyers to a fourth consecutive win in the series in January.

Philadelphia has taken two of three meetings with New York this season, splitting a pair of shootouts at home. The Flyers won 3-2 in the Rangers' first visit Oct. 24.

They won't have Sean Couturier for this matchup, as the center is expected to miss the next four weeks after re-aggravating a lower-body injury. Couturier, placed on injured reserve Friday, has nine goals and 15 assists and recorded 16 points in his last 16 games.

The Flyers have called up their leading scorer from their AHL affiliate, Nick Cousins.

"I think we all know it's a big loss for us, but we've got other guys who are going to fill in and need to pick up the slack," general manager Ron Hextall said. "No one is going to replace (Couturier). It's got to be a group effort. I like the resiliency of our team, and we've got to continue with that."

Rick Nash is expected to remain out for the Rangers because of a bone bruise on his left leg, but defenseman Kevin Klein could play despite fracturing his thumb Tuesday.

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