Flyers vs. Rangers Preview
NEW YORK, NY (AP) - Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette made a bold prediction after his team's once-comfortable Eastern Conference lead was reduced to two points. The playoff-hungry New York Rangers hope to make it an unsuccessful one.View Current New York Rangers Odds
Philadelphia looks to avoid its longest losing streak of the season Sunday when it faces New York at Madison Square Garden.
The Flyers (40-18-6) lost their third straight game Saturday, squandering a two-goal first-period lead in a 5-3 setback to Buffalo. The last two defeats came against Toronto and the Sabres, both fighting to get back into the postseason picture.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Flyers -120 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Rangers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 62% of more than 232 bets for this game have been placed on the Rangers +100.
Kris Versteeg scored his third goal in two games. He tallied his first goal with the Flyers in the most recent meeting against New York, a 4-2 Philadelphia victory Feb. 20.
Philadelphia hasn't lost four straight since a five-game slide from March 20-27, 2010. That in part forced the Flyers into desperation mode to make the postseason, having to beat the Rangers in a shootout on the final day of the regular season to reach the playoffs.
Now they're battling teams going through a similar stretch, and Laviolette expects his team to respond.
"I promise you this, wins will start to come our way,'' Laviolette said.
The Flyers have outscored the Rangers 15-6 in winning all four matchups so far in 2010-11.
Philadelphia has scored first in its last three contests, but has squandered the lead each time.
``Little mistakes are costing us,'' defenseman Chris Pronger said. ``We're playing teams that are battling for their lives.''
It'll be much of the same Sunday against the seventh-place Rangers, who are a single point ahead of Carolina with Buffalo just two points back.
New York (34-29-4) ended a three-game skid Friday with a 4-1 win against Ottawa. Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist, and Mats Zuccarello and Artem Anisimov scored 12 seconds apart in the second period.
However, the Rangers are just 5-10-1 since Jan. 25.
``We're in a position where we control our own fate, we control our own destiny and the way we play and the points that we get,'' said leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky, who has been held without a point in his last eight games. ``Obviously, you can't help but take a peek, but at the same time we're in charge of ourselves and we hold the key to what our future is.''
The pending return of Marian Gaborik is sure to boost the Rangers, but he hit a snag Thursday while still feeling effects of a concussion suffered Feb. 20 against the Flyers. The oft-injured Gaborik has 17 goals and 21 assists, but has missed five straight games.
Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves Friday to end a personal three-game losing streak, but he's just 0-3-0 with a 3.69 goals-against average against Philadelphia this season.
The Rangers have lost four straight at home, with Lundqvist losing all four.