Rangers vs. Flyers Preview
PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP) - When the New York Rangers visited the Philadelphia Flyers last April, a playoff spot was on the line.View Current New York Rangers Odds
It may feel that way again for the Rangers back in Philadelphia on Sunday. The situation isn't as dire for the Flyers, but they may be just as desperate to win.
These rivals could meet in the opening round of the playoffs, but New York is far from assured of a postseason berth and Philadelphia is stumbling in its pursuit of the Eastern Conference's top seed.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Flyers -152 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Rangers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 57% of more than 63 bets for this game have been placed on the Flyers -152.
Both teams have four games left and are coming off back-to-back regulation losses. While that's a change of fortune for the Rangers, who had been on a 6-0-1 run, it's part of a bad trend for a Flyers team which has lost five of seven and is 6-7-4 since Feb. 25.
Still, Philadelphia (46-22-10) has a good chance to claim the top seed in the East and can clinch its first Atlantic Division title since 2005-06 by picking up four more points.
"We keep talking about being the top team in the league but we haven't played that way," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "For sure we want to be the top team in the East, but right now we have to worry about ourselves and get our game in order. These four games are huge for us. Going into the playoffs, we have to get our game back on track."
Philadelphia barely made the 2010 playoffs, qualifying with a shootout victory over the visiting Rangers on the final day of the regular season. That loss kept New York out of the postseason.
The Rangers (41-32-5) are eighth in the East but have plenty of work to do to secure a playoff berth.
They're wrapping up a four-game road trip, having beaten Boston before losing to Buffalo and the New York Islanders.
"If you want to be successful in the playoffs, like we think we can be, it's a bad time to go through a couple of games like this," forward Brian Boyle said after Thursday's 6-2 loss to the Islanders.
"We're not guaranteed anything."
The Rangers have scored just five goals in their last five games and Ryan Callahan, the team leader with 23 goals, has none in that span.
"You have to have a short memory," Callahan said. "If we dwell on it, we're going to find ourselves in some trouble. This team has been good bouncing back from some hard games. It comes down to a four-game season, and we have to be ready."
Callahan had four goals in the most recent matchup with the Flyers, a 7-0 home win March 6. New York totaled six goals in the first four meetings and lost them all.
The Rangers have lost four straight in Philadelphia, managing just three goals, but the Flyers are 0-2-3 in their last five at home for their longest skid there since dropping six straight in February 2008.
"We got a big game on Sunday against a team that has lost two (straight) as well, so it's gonna be a hungry game on both sides," Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher said.
Boucher has lost four straight starts, and he exited in the second period of last month's loss to New York after allowing four goals.
Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in a loss to Washington last week but has since gone 2-1-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average.
Henrik Lundqvist likely will be in the opposing net to make a 23rd straight start even though he was benched after allowing four goals in two periods Thursday. Lundqvist had given up a total of two goals over his previous four starts.