Rangers need to show killer instinct today against Flyers; Igor Shesterkin back in goal

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Mar 25, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save against Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers did not go into game one of this set against the Philadelphia Flyers overconfident. There’s no reason to believe they will do that this afternoon when they face-off at the Wells Fargo Center. You can bet the Flyers will be nasty and looking for revenge, so it will be best to ignore the shenanigans and continue to bury pucks past their awful defense.

Rangers: 15-13-4 (34 pts)
Flyers: 15-13-4 (34 pts)

(1:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM)

Rangers vs Flyers: Blueshirts need killer instinct

The Flyers are an absolute mess in their own end. After NY blew them out for a second time, Philly rearguard Shayne Gostisbehere went on a little expletive filled rant. “We are letting guys just [expletive] absolutely beat us up in front of the net,” he said after the Rangers destroyed them 8-3 at home. “It makes our goaltenders look like absolute [expletive]. It’s not fair.”

Today, the Rangers need to show they have a killer instinct and sweep this series against them. Wins against the Flyers, Devils, and Sabres for the remainder of the season will be key if they hope to make the playoffs. After this series New York heads to Washington where they play the Caps twice and a split would be imperative. That’s followed by a two game trip to Buffalo. Points are needed now.

The Bruins still don’t seem right after coming off a COVID hiatus and are without Tuukka Rask at least for the rest of the weekend. Boston has three games in hand, but the Rangers close the season with two against them. A series that may determine if they make it or not.

Red-Hot Mika Zibanejad – Flyers Slayer

rangers vs flyers
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Mika Zibanejad scored a natural hat trick and six points in the second period of a 9-0 wash out of the Flyers. Last game, he took a little longer but completed the feat again. The Rangers center posted another natural and six points in an 8-3 clubbing of the host Flyers. Since that first breakout game, Zibanejad has recorded 15 points in his last five contests.

Mika’s Magic Show

  • First player in NHL history to score 6 points or more against the same opponent in the same season
  • Has 15 points in his last 5 games
  • Has 23 points in his last 17 games
  • Today will be his 300th career game

Igor Shesterkin to start

Igor Shesterkin had a busy night in his first game back from injury stopping 41 shots. He made some big saves to keep the Rangers in control of the game. The most important take away is that he showed no lingering effects from his groin injury as his lateral movement was sharp. His stats this season continue to improve with a 7-7-1 record, a .922 SV% and a 2.36 GAA.

The lineup is expected to remain the same. Vitali Kravtsov’s debut is the biggest question. It’s possible he will debut against the Capitals.

Pre Game Notes

  • All-Time vs Flyers: 135-123-37-10 (70-52-23-6 at home; 65-71-14-4 on the road)
  • The Rangers tallied 15 consecutive goals against the Flyers over a two-game span (all nine goals on Mar. 17, 2021 at MSG and the first six goals of the game on Mar. 25, 2021 at Philadelphia). According to NHL Stats and Information, the Rangers’ 15 consecutive goals against the Flyers were tied for the third-most against an opponent in one season in franchise history (17 against the NY Islanders in 1972-73, 16 against the California Golden Seals in 1974-75, and 15 against the Montreal Canadiens in 1939-40).

Since Mar. 17, several Rangers are among the NHL’s leaders in various categories:

  • Mika Zibanejad’s seven goals and 15 points are each the most in the NHL, and his plus-10 rating is tied for the best in the NHL (tied with Pavel Buchnevich)
  • Buchnevich’s five goals are tied for the second-most in the NHL
  • Adam Fox’s 10 assists are the most in the NHL and his 11 points are tied for the second-most in the NHL
  • Ryan Strome’s nine assists are the second-most in the NHL and his 10 points are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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