Advertisement

Flyers Welcome Rangers

Though Henrik Lundqvist usually starts for the New York Rangers, Stephen Valiquette knows how to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers in their own building.

If Valiquette gets the call on Friday night, he will try to blank the Flyers (36-28-10) for the third time this season as they welcome the Rangers (39-26-9) to the Wachovia Center.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made New York –115 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 X% of bets for this game have been placed on X (View NHL Bet Percentages).

In 24 career games, including 14 starts since 1999-2000, Valiquette has recorded two shutouts - both coming against the Flyers in Philadelphia. He stopped 20 shots in a 4-0 win on Jan. 31, then made 31 saves on Feb. 9 in a 2-0 victory.

New York has won 11 of its last 12 games in Philadelphia, and is 6-0-1 there since a loss on April 15, 2006. Scott Gomez of the Rangers, who spent the first seven years of his career playing for Atlantic Division-rival New Jersey said a quick start always helps.

"You have to take the fans out of it early," he said.

Valiquette hasn't played since a 5-4 shootout win over the Flyers on March 2 at Madison Square Garden. After Lundqvist allowed three first-period goals, Valiquette relieved him to start the second and made 17 saves plus two more in the shootout.

Lundqvist gave up five goals in consecutive losses to Florida and Tampa Bay last week that ended New York's 13-game point streak, but has bounced back against Pittsburgh and New Jersey - the teams New York are chasing in the Atlantic. He recorded his 100th career win in the Rangers' 5-2 win over the Penguins on Tuesday, then made 17 saves plus three more in the shootout en route to a 2-1 win against the Devils on Wednesday.

Chris Drury scored with less than five minutes to play in regulation and Nigel Dawes tallied the lone shootout goal as New York improved to 6-0-0 against the Devils, closing the gap on the Atlantic Division leaders to four points with eight games remaining.

Lundqvist told the Rangers' official Web site that picking up points at this time of the season is important.

"You start to get a little nervous as the game winds down because you realize how important it is, the points are so huge," said Lundqvist, 5-0-0 with a 2.89 goals-against average over five career starts in Philadelphia. "You almost start to think that maybe it's too good to be true to beat them six times in a row."

New York is trying to reach 40 wins in three straight seasons for the first time since a four-year run from 1970-74.

The Flyers, meanwhile, are eighth in the East, one point behind seventh-place Boston with eight games to play.

Philadelphia snapped a three-game losing streak by winning its 10th in a row over Atlanta, 3-2 on Tuesday. Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Vaclav Prospal scored for the Flyers, who set a season high in outshooting the Thrashers 47-19.

"We had some trouble winning games a couple of times this year, but we got the job done tonight," said Antero Niittymaki, who made a key stop on 50-goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk in the final seconds to preserve the win.

But both Niittymaki and Biron, though, have had trouble solving New York when playing in Philadelphia. Niittymaki has allowed 11 goals while losing his last three home starts while Biron is 0-2-1 with a 3.97 GAA in three starts since coming over in a trade from Buffalo in February 2007.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

More NHL Hockey coverage from theSpread.com

 - NHL Hockey news wire
 - NHL top stories
 - Current NHL injuries
 - NHL Hockey schedule
 - NHL Hockey standings
 - NHL goalie stats
 - NHL Hockey scoreboard
 - NHL Hockey odds
 - NHL public betting charts
 - Expert NHL Picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NHL Home

Advertisement
Advertisement

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Stamkos staying with Tampa The biggest prize in NHL free agency has elected to stay home, as Steven Stamkoshas signed a new deal with the Tampa Bay...
Thumbnail Stanley Cup Game 6 Pick The San Jose Sharks hope to force a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight...
Thumbnail Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Pick Will the Pittsburgh Penguins close out the Stanley Cup Final tonight when they host the San Jose Sharks in...
Thumbnail Stanley Cup Final Game 4 Pick Can the San Jose Sharkseven up the Stanley Cup Finalwhen they host the Pittsburgh Penguins...
Thumbnail Penguins vs. Sharks Game 3 Pick Can the San Jose Sharks get on the board in the Stanley Cup Final when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 at...
More inNHL Articles  

NHL Headlines

More inNHL News  

NHL Team Pages

Advertisement