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Flyers battle Rangers in finale of seven-game “gauntlet”

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

After a tough 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Florida Panthers on Sunday evening, the Flyers will complete the dreaded “Seven Game Gauntlet” this evening as they’re set to face the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Entering Tuesday, the Flyers sit third in the Metropolitan with just a two point lead on the team catching them in the Washington Capitals. Washington most recently shutout one of the hottest teams in the league in a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. The Caps are also in action this evening as they host the Red Wings.

“I thought we played really well,” head coach John Tortorella said after Sunday’s loss to Florida. “Couldn’t score.”

Tortorella’s postgame press conference lasted just 39 seconds as a reporter asked him to assess Felix Sandström‘s performance in the loss. Tortorella shrugged, banged his hands against the podium and walked off.

Samuel Ersson has fit in very well since becoming the full-time starter.

Ersson leads all rookie netminders with 21 victories. On the year, Ersson is 21-14-6 with a 2.66 goals-against average and a save percentage of .898.

Offensively, Travis Konecny has heated up since returning from injury.

Konecny recorded his 29th and 30th goals of the season in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Boston to record back-to-back 30 goal seasons. On the year, TK leads his team in all three major offensive categories with 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points.

As for New York, they’re in a battle for the division lead with the Carolina Hurricanes, who trail the Rangers by a point. The Rangers most notably also defeated Florida in a 4-3 shootout victory on Saturday night. The Rangers have been one of the hottest teams in the entire league and it’s mostly thanks to veteran forward Artemi Panarin.

Panarin sits just one point shy of reaching the 100 point milestone on the year. It would be the first triple-digit point season for the Breadman in his career.

Another bright spot on New York’s roster is netminder Igor Shesterkin.

Shesterkin’s become one of the top goaltenders in the league. This season, the Moscow, Russia native has gone 30-15-2 with a 2.60 goals-against average with a .912 save percentage. He sits just one win shy of 130 victories in his career.

A big part in the Flyers’ success this season has been their penalty killing. Though over the last few weeks, it has began to dip.

Philadelphia’s penalty kill ranks third at an 84.4% success rate with a league-leading 15 shorthanded goals.

On the other hand, the Flyers’ power play has been something to look away from. Despite recording a power play goal against the Bruins on Saturday, Philadelphia’s man advantage ranks last in the NHL at 13.2%, going 30-for-228.

As for the Rangers, their penalty kill ranks just behind the Flyers at fourth with an 83.6% success, scoring four shorthanded goals.

New York’s power play sits top-five in the league, checking in at 25.6%.

PHI Record: 36-27-9, 81 pts, 3rd in Metropolitan

NYR Record: 47-20-4, 98 pts, 1st in Metropolitan

When: 7:00pm ET

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Broadcast Info: NBC Sports Philadelphia, 97.5 The Fanatic

Last Game PHI: 3/24/24, 4-1 L vs. Florida

Last Game NYR: 3/23/24, 4-3 SOW vs. Florida

PHI Goalie: Samuel Ersson (21-14-6, .898 SV%, 2.66 GAA, 3 SO)

NYR Goalie: Igor Shesterkin (30-15-2, .912 SV%, 2.60 GAA, 3 SO)

PHI Projected Lineup

#74 Owen Tippett – #48 Morgan Frost – #11 Travis Konecny

#86 Joel Farabee – #21 Scott Laughton – #10 Bobby Brink

#71 Tyson Foerster – #25 Ryan Poehling – #19 Garnet Hathaway

#27 Noah Cates – #14 Sean Couturier – #62 Olle Lycksell

#8 Cam York – #6 Travis Sanheim

#50 Adam Ginning – #23 Ronnie Attard

#5 Egor Zamula – #77 Erik Johnson

#33 Samuel Ersson

#32 Felix Sandström

Scratches: #9 Jamie Drysdale, #15 Denis Gurianov, #18 Marc Staal, #24 Nick Seeler, #44 Nicolas Deslauriers, #89 Cam Atkinson

Injuries: #55 Rasmus Ristolainen

NYR Projected Lineup

#20 Chris Kreider – #93 Mika Zibanejad – #96 Jack Roslovic

#10 Artemi Panarin – #16 Vincent Trocheck – #13 Alexis Lafrenière

#50 Will Cuylle – #91 Alexander Wennberg – #24 Kaapo Kakko

#26 Jimmy Vesey – #21 Barclay Goodrow – #73 Matt Rempe

#6 Zac Jones – #23 Adam Fox

#79 K’Andre Miller – #4 Braden Schneider

#58 Brandon Scanlin – #5 Chad Ruhwedel

#31 Igor Shesterkin

#32 Jonathan Quick

Scratches: #22 Jonny Brodzinski

Injuries: #8 Jacob Trouba, #55 Ryan Lindgren, #56 Erik Gustafsson

News and Notes

– All-time, the Flyers are 136-145-37 against the Rangers with 14 overtime losses.

– On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that Flyers goaltending prospect Alexei Kolosov is apparently heading to North America after his KHL club, Dinamo Minsk, posted via Instagram thanking him for his services to the team. Kolosov was drafted in the third round of the 2021 draft by Philadelphia. He will most likely head to AHL Lehigh Valley.

– Defensemen Jamie Drysdale and Nick Seeler both participated in morning skate though neither are expected to play this evening.

– Rangers defenseman Brandon Scanlin will make his NHL debut this evening, replacing d-man and former Flyer Erik Gustafsson.

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