Flyers Face Rangers In Possible First Round Playoff Preview

(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers will try to regain the lead in the Eastern Conference when they host the rival New York Rangers in today's Atlantic Division clash at Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers have already clinched a playoff berth, but are still battling for the top seed in the East as well as the division title.

Philadelphia fell one point behind Washington for the East lead after the Capitals recorded a win Saturday over Buffalo, but the Flyers can use a game in hand to overtake the idle Caps today. Washington has three games left in the regular season compared to Philly's four.

The Flyers are also just two points ahead of Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division lead and can also use a game in hand today over the idle Penguins.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are locked in a heated battle for a spot in the postseason. New York is currently holding onto the eighth and final playoff seed in the East, but is just one point behind Buffalo and one ahead of Carolina. The Sabres and Hurricanes will meet later today in Raleigh.

Philadelphia will be seeking a measure of revenge today against the Blueshirts, as New York destroyed the Flyers, 7-0, when the clubs met on March 6 at Madison Square Garden. Ryan Callahan registered his first career hat trick in the lopsided win for the Rangers, who halted a five-game series' skid with that home victory.

However, in addition to winning four out of the five meetings this season, the Flyers have also taken seven out of 10 overall in this series and the Rangers have dropped four in a row and six of their last nine in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Flyers enter today having lost two straight and five of their last seven games (2-3-2). Philadelphia has scored just one goal over its last two tilts, getting shut out Thursday by visiting Atlanta before dropping Friday's 4-2 decision in New Jersey.

Philly allowed Patrik Elias to record the eighth hat trick of his career in Friday's setback, while James van Riemsdyk and Jeff Carter scored for the Flyers.

Brian Boucher yielded all four goals on 24 shots in the loss. Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to get the start today and the rookie netminder is 1-0 with a 2.59 goals-against average in two career games (one start) against New York.

Today marks Philadelphia's second-to-last home test of the regular season. The Flyers, who are 21-12-6 as the host this year, will play their next two games in Ottawa and Buffalo before closing the regular season Saturday against the visiting Islanders.

Like Philadelphia, the Rangers have also scored just twice over their last two games. The Blueshirts were dealt a 1-0 loss in Buffalo on Wednesday before getting slammed by the Islanders, 6-2, on Thursday.

Matt Moulson and Radek Martinek posted a goal and assist each to lead the Islanders past the visiting Rangers at Nassau Coliseum. Henrik Lundqvist was dented for four goals on 22 shots through two periods for the loss. Chad Johnson finished the game by yielding two more scores.

"I think we're averaging one goal over our last five or six games. We got to find a way to get those numbers up," said Rangers defenseman Bryan McCabe. "We can't rely on 'Hank' every game to pitch a shutout. We have to start scoring."

Vinny Prospal and Brandon Prust scored for the Rangers, who have five goals over their last five games.

The Rangers are 1-2-0 on a four-game road trip that ends today and are 23-16-1 as the guest this season. New York will close the regular season on a three- game homestand.

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