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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 1st (All times Eastern)
New York Rangers (33-24-3) at Philadelphia Flyers (30-24-6), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Lundqvist will see his first action following the Olympics when his New York Rangers visit the rival Philadelphia Flyers for Saturday's divisional battle at Wells Fargo Center.
Lundqvist helped anchor Team Sweden to a silver medal at the Sochi Olympics, but the Rangers opted to give their star goaltender extra time to rest when they opened their post-Olympic schedule on Thursday.
Cam Talbot filled in nicely for "King Henrik" by making 31 saves to help the Rangers post a 2-1 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. The win over the defending Stanley Cup champions was the seventh victory in the past eight games for New York.
Derick Brassard and Rick Nash, a gold medalist for Team Canada, supplied the goals for the Rangers.
"The guys had a great game and a win is a win," said Nash. "I don't think anyone expected the game to be this tight, but it was a huge win and two points."
With 69 points, New York is currently holding onto the second of the Metropolitan Division's three automatic bids to the playoffs. However, the third-place Flyers are only three points back.
New York and Philly have split the first two of four regular-season meetings scheduled for this season, but the Rangers have dominated the Flyers in recent years, claiming 12 of the past 15 encounters. The Flyers, however, have won three of the last four meetings on their home ice.
Lundqvist has stellar career numbers against the Flyers, going 26-12-3 with a 2.49 goals against average and .916 save percentage in this matchup.
The Flyers hope to rebound from a terrible showing in their first game following the break, as the club is coming off Thursday's 7-3 home loss against the San Jose Sharks. Joe Pavelski recorded his second career hat trick and Logan Couture and Raffi Torres each added a pair of goals to help the Sharks slam the Flyers.
Brayden Schenn, Andrej Meszaros and Matt Read scored one goal apiece for the Flyers, who had won four straight entering the break.
Steve Mason started in net but was pulled in favor of Ray Emery in the second period. Mason, who took the loss, re-entered the game in the third period and finished with 12 saves on 16 shots. Emery allowed three goals on 14 shots.
"We got beat in front of our own net. They scored all their goals from 10 feet from the crease. We have to be a lot better in that area in order to have more success," Mason said.
Mason will start Saturday's game after Emery sustained a lower-body injury on Thursday. The Flyers recalled Cal Heater from the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms to serve as the backup for today's game.
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen expects to be back in the lineup Saturday after sitting out Philly's first game after the break. The 38-year-old Timonen helped Finland win bronze in Sochi and was given extra time off for additional rest.
Saturday's tilt marks the end of a four-game homestand for the Flyers, who are 16-11-1 in the City of Brotherly Love this season. Philadelphia will visit Washington on Sunday to kick off a home-and-home series against the Capitals.
03/01 10:26:04 ET