Dominating The Flyers
Henrik Lundqvist had two forgettable games in goal this week for the New York Rangers. Facing the Philadelphia Flyers on the road, though, could get him back on track in what's largely been an inconsistent season.
Lundqvist looks to remain unbeaten in Philadelphia and the Rangers seek their seventh straight win at the Wachovia Center as they meet the Flyers on Saturday.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Philadelphia -141 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on Philadelphia -141 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
Lundqvist allowed a total of eight goals in losses at Madison Square Garden this past week against Los Angeles - owner of the NHL's worst record - and defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim. Despite 24 wins, a 2.37 goals-against average and seven shutouts in 2007-08, Lundqvist hasn't won more than four straight starts. His 21 regulation losses are one short of his total from last season, when he went 37-22-8 with a 2.34 GAA and five shutouts.
But Lundqvist does seem to enjoy playing in Philadelphia, going 5-0-0 with a 2.89 GAA in his career there. On Nov. 15 in his most recent road game against the Flyers, he stopped 20 shots before denying Daniel Briere, Mike Richards and Scottie Upshall in a 4-3 shootout win.
Rangers coach Tom Renney could also be tempted to go with backup Stephen Valiquette in goal. On Jan. 31, Valiquette made 20 saves for his first NHL shutout in the Rangers' 4-0 victory at Philadelphia.
"They seem to bring out the best in us and it's a hostile environment here," Renney said of playing the Flyers on the road.
During their winning streak in Philadelphia, the Rangers (27-24-6) have limited the Flyers to one goal or less three times, and have posted two wins in shootouts.
New York, which trails Atlantic Division co-leaders Philadelphia and Pittsburgh by five points, is waiting for Jaromir Jagr to break out of his slump. A five-time 100-point scorer, Jagr has failed to register a point in five straight games and has only one assist in his last seven.
Jagr didn't have a point in either of the Rangers' two wins in Philadelphia this season after recording three goals and one assist in his previous two visits there. Overall in 2007-08, he has 15 goals and 32 assists in 57 games.
Philadelphia (30-18-5) failed to achieve a three-game winning streak Thursday, falling 4-3 to Washington. Trailing by three with less than seven minutes to play, Sami Kapanen and Randy Jones scored for the Flyers to make it close.
The Flyers are expected to have forward Joffrey Lupul back in the lineup. He's been out since Jan. 5, due to a spinal cord contusion suffered in a collision with teammate Derian Hatcher in Toronto.
Lupul, who has 16 goals and 35 assists in 39 games, was expected to be held out until Feb. 14, but got cleared to play following an MRI.
"Everyone knew I wanted to play, felt well enough to play. If you're well enough to play, you should be playing," Lupul said. "I guess the doctor had a change of heart."
Lupul could step in for Scottie Upshall, who is out with a sprained ankle.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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