Flyers preparing for a pivotal three-game stretch

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The Flyers return home for a “Wednesday Night Rivalry” game against the division rival New York Rangers. This starts a vital three game stretch as the orange and black face New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flyers figure to be battling these three teams all season for a postseason birth, making this stretch even more important.

The Rangers currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 53 points, eight ahead of the Flyers. These games are always close. The Rangers have one of the best goaltenders in the league in Henrik Lundquist and a high octane offense with six players already scoring 10 goals, led by Chris Kreider’s 15. The Flyers have to be physical but smart as the Rangers have the 4th best power play and 8th best penalty kill.

The Lightning always give the Flyers fits and it looks as these two teams will battle for one of the two wild card spots come April. Tampa currently sits three points behind the Flyers in the standings and the Lightning have been shredded by injuries to stars. But they are a well coached, fast team, that usually spells trouble for the Flyers. We know the Flyers defense is not the quickest, so they will need to keep the puck out of their zone and be physical with Lightning stars Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson.

The Blue Jackets are the surprise of the league. They currently are riding a 15 game winning streak and have lost only five games all season. They are young, they are fast and play without fear, adapting a tough, hard nosed game. They have the top power play in hockey and that presents a problem as the Flyers penalty killing has been a nightmare recently. They also have arguably the best goalie not named Carey Price in former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky.

These are four point games for the Flyers and they simply need to start fast. Their three game post-Christmas trip was a disaster as they were lucky to gain one point in Anaheim. All the good that occurred during their winning streak is a distant memory and the team are rapidly giving up all the ground they gained. These are three tough games, but if they play their game, they are winnable ones.

 

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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