One streak will end Friday night when the Flyers host the New York Rangers in the first of a home-and-home series this weekend.
The Flyers (36-20-7) are looking for their fifth straight win, which would equal a season high. The Rangers (35-24-7), who will host the Flyers on Sunday afternoon, are trying to win their sixth straight overall and their 10th consecutive road game. The Blueshirts already have set a franchise record for consecutive road wins, and they are tied for the eighth-longest such streak in NHL history.
Before their recent success, the Rangers were just 9-11-2 on the road.
This will be Flyers coach Alain Vigneault’s second regular-season matchup against his former team.
“Obviously, I have some great memories and had a real good time with New York,” Vigneault said after Friday’s morning skate, “but I’ve moved on and I’m sure they’ve moved on, too.”
The Flyers, who recently swept home-and-home matchups against Columbus, will be trying to contain Artemi Panarin (32 goals, 87 points), Mika Zibanejad (30 goals, 62 points), and a power play that ranks sixth in the NHL.
“They have a lot of offensive weapons there that can hurt you multiple ways,” Vigneault said.
“I think for us, it’s just a matter of being ready and focusing on us and not respecting them too much,” rookie Flyers defenseman Phil Myers said. “We know they’ve been hot on the road lately, and we just have to play like we usually do at home and everything will take care of itself.”
As for Panarin, Myers said, “Obviously you have to be a little more careful when he’s on the ice, but you can’t respect him too much. You have to take away his time and space, just like everybody else. If you give him too much time, he’s going to make some plays."
Like Vigneault, Flyers center Kevin Hayes downplayed facing his former team. Hayes and Travis Sanheim each had two goals in the Flyers’ 5-1 home win over the Rangers on Dec. 23. The Flyers outscored New York, 4-0, in the third period of that victory.
Hayes said he “absolutely had a blast” during his five years in New York, “but I think the biggest part of these next two games is the two points each night.”
In the crowded Metro Division race, the Flyers are one point behind second-place Pittsburgh and five points ahead of the Rangers, who are tied for sixth.
The Flyers have scored four or more goals in seven of their last nine games. The Rangers have scored at least four goals four times in their five-game winning streak.
Carter Hart (20-12-3, 2.51 GAA, .909 save percentage) will face New York’s Alexandar Georgiev (16-12-1, 2.94, .914), who will play for the second straight night. He won in Montreal on Thursday, 5-2.
Georgiev is 4-1 with a 2.18 GAA and .937 save percentage in his last five starts.
Hart is 17-2-2 with a 1.65 GAA and .941 save percentage at the Wells Fargo Center this season. He has one home loss, a 1-0 defeat to Tampa Bay, in the last three-plus months.
Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo grew up across the river in Sewell as a Flyers fan. The 24-year-old defenseman is having a career year with 13 goals, 47 points, and a plus-16 rating.