There are two things to consider about the Flyers' matchup with the New York Rangers that's coming on the heels of their 7-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
In games this season when the Flyers gave up four goals or more, they've picked up a point in the next game. They're 3-0-1 in that situation.
So if the pattern holds true following Thursday's blowout loss to the Sharks, the Flyers should get a point in Saturday’s afternoon’s match against the Rangers, right?
Except for one, small detail: Since the start of 2011, the Flyers are just 3-10 against the Rangers. That record is not promising when it comes to predicting whether the Flyers will earn a point at the Wells Fargo Center.
“They’ll be ready to go,” coach Craig Berube said. “I think we got the message across today, and I think that they'll be ready to compete tomorrow, for sure. They're a couple of points ahead of us and we're trying to catch them. It's a big weekend.”
The weekend begins with the Rangers and ends with the Capitals.
Alain Vigneault’s second-place Rangers are three points ahead of the third-place Flyers in the Metropolitan Division. They have 69 points to the Flyers' 66. The Caps (65 points) are just a point behind the Flyers.
Over the last several seasons, the Rangers seem to bring out the most physicality from the Flyers.
“Yeah, they bring out the worst in us,” Scott Hartnell said. “It’s always fun to play these kind of games. We haven’t played them in a long time, so we have to be ready. We’re going to have a meeting here this afternoon just to get focus and dialed in. Everyone needs to bring their best tomorrow. If we don’t, we’re going to be on the wrong side of it again.”
While there are differences in how the Rangers play under Vigneault versus how they played under John Tortorella, nothing changes in tension, emotion and dislike that exists between these two clubs.
“I think we lost six in a row one year … it was always frustrating hockey against them,” Hartnell said. “Tortorella had them focused. Seemed like we had shots and never got through and the ones that did [Henrik] Lundqvist was there to pick ‘em out of the air.
“They play a little bit different style now. We have to win these games coming up, no matter who it is. We have to be out of our minds and going at ‘em us against the Rangers tomorrow for a playoff spot. That has to be our mentality.”
Hartnell called the weekend “massive.” Goalie Steve Mason agreed.
“We definitely need to have a good bounce-back game against the Rangers,” Mason said. “I’m looking forward to that game, a big rival for this organization. We definitely need to make sure we’re getting up for it. When things are going well and then you have an off-game all around, it’s kind of a humbling experience. You want to get back to that good feeling and you work that much harder.”
Mason denied he would approach the game as if he needed to “steal” a point from Lundqvist, who has been dominant against the Flyers.
“Obviously, Hank’s one of the best goaltenders, if not the best goaltender, in the league,” Mason said. “It’s a great challenge for myself personally to go up against him. I don’t look at it as putting any more pressure on myself for tomorrow’s game as I did yesterday’s game.
“You have to approach every game as if it’s the same. Yeah, it’s a big rival for this team, but you have to approach it even-keeled.”
Timonen visited his daughter Fiona's first-grade class in Haddonfield, N.J. this week to show off his bronze medal from Team Finland at the Olympics.
“Well, the reason I went in there, they made me a really nice kind of sendoff video,” Timonen said. “They were talking Finnish and it was all about Finland.
“It was so nice and it made me emotional. I decided, especially if I bring back any medal, I’m going to stop by, and it was nice. Sixteen young kids who were happy and couldn’t stand still, but it was good.”