Rangers Top Flyers In Shootout, Hold On To East's Final Playoff Spot

The New York Rangers held on to the 8th-seed in the East with a shootout victory against the Flyers. Philadelphia moved back into first in the East thanks to the charity point.

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Rangers Vs. Flyers: Bryan McCabe Scores Very Late In First, Ties Score At 1-1

The Philadelphia Flyers have struggled lately for essentially one simple reason. As the regular season has wound down, the Flyers have begun to coast a bit, and as a result, they haven't been getting pucks deep in the offensive zone. They haven't been getting the cycle game going, or, as Peter Laviolette calls it, they've been playing "lazy hockey."

The play that led to James van Riemsdyk's first period goal was anything but lazy. van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Nikolay Zherdev worked the puck down low with help from defenseman Sean O`Donnell. Eventually, it hopped back up top where O'Donnell took a blast.

Henrik Lundqvist made the initial save, but van Riemsdyk used his big frame to box out a defender, corral the loose puck, and pop it in the back of the net to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. 

By the end of the first period, though, a lack of discipline led to a tie game. The Flyers took two penalties -- a holding call on Matt Carle and a high-sticking call on Braydon Coburn -- to give the Rangers a 5-on-3 advantage for a good minute. With less than a second left in the period, Bryan McCabe took a blast from the point that beat Sergei Bobrovsky. 

Tie game as we head to the second. 


Rangers Vs. Flyers: Danny Briere Out As Philly Hosts Desperate New York

If things don't go well today, the New York Rangers could find themselves outside of the NHL playoff picture. With a loss in Philadelphia against the rival Flyers and a Carolina Hurricanes win against Buffalo later in the evening, the Eastern Conference playoff bubble will pull even tighter, and the Canes will leap the Rangers for the eighth and final spot.

So, it's obviously imperative that the Rangers, losers in two straight after a stretch where they went 8-1-1, pull out a victory today. They'll be facing a Flyers team that hasn't played well of late either, especially on home ice. The now-second-place Flyers haven't won at Wells Fargo Center in their last five tries. 

Philadelphia will be without Danny Briere this afternoon. General manager Paul Holmgren announced prior to the game that he'll be out with "lower-body soreness," which narrows down the diagnosis to about 50 percent of his body. Thanks, Paul. Nikolay Zherdev will see action for the second straight game, playing on a line with Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk.

In goal, the Flyers will go with Sergei Bobrovsky, who's been fantastic in the last week or so. Across the ice, the Rangers will go with Henrik Lundqvist, who was pulled in the team's last game, a 6-2 loss to the New York Islanders.

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