Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers vs New York Rangers

The Metropolitan Division is starting to take shape heading into 2020. The Philadelphia Flyers are traveling back home to the Wells Fargo Center tonight at 7 pm to host the division rival New York Rangers. An opportunity knocks to move into third place in the Metro before the Flyers go on a six-game road trip. The veteran players for Philadelphia have been playing strong in this three-game winning streak. Tonight begins the final four games for the Flyers in 2019.

A year ago on this day, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Rangers, 3-2, in a shootout. This season at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers are tied with the New York Islanders for the best winning percentage on home ice. Tonight is the first game this season between Philadelphia and the Rangers, who are the last team in the Metropolitan Division that the Flyers have yet to face. Carter Hart has won his last six games at home while James van Riemsdyk has lit up the stat book with back-to-back two-goal games. This is the second game in a back-to-back series for New York after a win on Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Carter Hart is the starting goaltender tonight for the Philadelphia Flyers. Across the rink, Henrik Lundqvist gets the starting nod for the New York Rangers. In the last ten meetings against each other, the Flyers have a 7-3 advantage. The Rangers won the last game, 3-0, but Philadelphia won the series last season, 3-1. On the injury report, New York lists Libor Hajek and Kaapo Kakko as both day-to-day.

New York Rangers – Skaters

The leading scorer on the New York Rangers is Artemi Panarin with 45 points. He has slightly more assists than goals but is a player that is dynamic on this offense. Panarin scores on 19.6% of the shots he takes, but that isn’t my player to highlight from the Rangers. Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers need to be aware of Mika Zibanejad. He’s as dynamic as Panarin, scores on 16.4% of his shots, and has a knack for being a player that can singlehandedly hurt the Flyers.

Another player under the radar on the New York Rangers is Ryan Lindgren. The 21-year-old defenseman has compiled eight points this season, seven of them from assists. With a +/- of six, he leads the Rangers defensemen in that statistic. Lindgren isn’t the most physical player on this defense, but he gets the job done. So far, he’s accounted for 30 blocked shots and 43 hits.

New York Rangers – Goaltending

“King” Henrik Lundqvist is the one goaltender that has given the Philadelphia Flyers problems for the last decade. Lundqvist has yet to have a really bad start to a game this season, which is why the Flyers offense will have to agitate him in the net. With a record of 8-7-3, Lundqvist has seemingly taken a back seat to Alexandar Georgiev. Both goaltenders have displayed similar numbers. Lundqvist heads into this game tonight with a 91.3% save percentage and a 3.02 goal against average.

Faceoff Possession

Only one of the teams in this game has a team faceoff win percentage over 50%. The New York Rangers are at 46.4% while the Philadelphia Flyers maintain 54.4%. On the Rangers, the best faceoff opportunists are Artemi Panarin, Boo Nieves, and Micheal Haley. For the Flyers, they look to Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Mikhail Vorobyev. The advantage here stays with Philadelphia.

Prediction

Tonight’s outcome will boil down to a battle between the goaltenders. Carter Hart has been incredible at home as of late, riding a six-game win streak. Henrik Lundqvist has played the Philadelphia Flyers well throughout his career. Lately, the Flyers have been able to score a healthy number of goals per game. Tonight, I’ll take the side of Philadelphia, but the game will be closer than we expect.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The money line favors the Philadelphia Flyers at -180 with an over-under set at 6. Follow me at EricReesePSN and Philly Sports Network at PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!

Mandatory Credit – © Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports

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