Flyers Notes: Rangers game looms large


Saturday, March 5, 2011
Posted: 5:25 p.m.
By Ryan Contributor

The Flyers wont have much time to linger on Saturdays 5-3 defeat to the Buffalo Sabres, as they head right to New York with hopes to continue their regular-season mastery over Atlantic Division rival Rangers on Sunday afternoon (12:30NBC) at Madison Square Garden.

We have to come out to play, said Kris Versteeg, whose squad has lost three straight in regulation for only the second time this season. We need to put together a big effort tomorrow.

A matchup with the Rangers could be good medicine for the struggling Flyers, who have dominated the season series 4-0, outscoring the Blueshirts by a combined score of 15-6. But dont think the Flyers are taking the Rangers lightly.

There wont be an easy game for the rest of the year, no matter who you play, said coach Peter Laviolette. Every game means something now. Fifteen teams are trying to make the playoffs and eight or 10 are fighting for spots.

Count the Rangers in that mix. New York is currently holding the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference by just one point over Carolina, in eighth.

Were playing teams that are battling for their playoff lives and are desperate, said Chris Pronger on Saturday. They play with a lot of determination and desire and we have to match that.Kimmo's 100th
Kimmo Timonens shorthanded goal on Saturday marked the 100th goal of his NHL career. But the more surprising stat spawning from the 12-year veteran is that the goal was the fifth shorthanded tally of his career and fourth as a Flyer.
Sabre killer
Flyers captain Mike Richards has been a thorn in the side of Buffalo for quite some time, and that didnt change on Saturday. Adding an assist on Versteegs power play goal, Richards now has 11 goals and 14 assists in 20 career games against the Sabres.

But hes not the only one.

Not expected to play because of a death in the family, Jeff Carter made it back from London, Ont., in time for pregame warm-ups. However, Carter, who has 12 goals and seven assists in 22 career games against the Sabres, was a minus-1 in 15:09 of playing time.
Third-period troubles
When looking at what has gone wrong for the Flyers in their last seven games, the third period stands out. During that span, in which they are 2-4-1, not counting empty-net goals, the Flyers have been outscored by the opposition 12-3. Laviolettes solution is to simply work through it.

We have to stick to the work and work ethic and getting that push, Laviolette said. The month of March is a month where we have to push in practice and in games. The way to turn things is to keep on pushing.E-mail Ryan Bright at

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