Thanks to their recent scoring surge, however, the Rangers have to like their chances of avenging that loss Thursday night when they visit the last-place Flyers.
New York (24-19-7) lost 6-0 to the Flyers (24-21-3) at home Dec. 30, mustering 22 shots with only five coming in each of the first two periods.
The Rangers’ scoring woes continued over their next nine games. New York went 4-2-3 in that stretch, averaging 1.78 goals and getting shut out twice.
The Rangers have rebounded in a big way, ending a three-game losing streak with Sunday’s 6-2 victory over Montreal before recording their highest scoring output of the season in an 8-2 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
“It was one of those nights where everything was going in,” said right wing Marian Gaborik(notes), who has one goal and six assists in two games after going four in a row without a point. “We deserved it. We haven’t been scoring that many goals lately.”
Ten New York players have found the net over the last two games, and six more have recorded at least one assist.
Gaborik, among the league leaders with 29 goals and 61 points, tied his career high with four assists Tuesday, but he was a minus-3 against the Flyers on Dec. 30.
Brandon Dubinsky(notes) was a minus-4 in the last matchup with Philadelphia, but he has also been a major offensive spark in the last two games with three goals and two assists after totaling one and two, respectively, in the previous six contests.
Henrik Lundqvist(notes), who will likely start Thursday, is 6-1-2 with a 1.42 goals-against average and one shutout in his last nine starts, including a 21-save performance against the Lightning. That stretch has come after he was pulled for allowing three goals on 11 shots in the opening period against the Flyers on Dec. 30.
A member of the Sweden team that will compete in next month’s Olympics in Vancouver, Lundqvist has won seven of eight starts in Philadelphia while posting a 2.82 GAA. He stopped 36 shots in a 2-1 win there on Dec. 19, helping the Rangers improve to 14-2-1 in their last 17 visits to Wachovia Center.
The Flyers are last in the Atlantic Division, but they have gone 9-3-1 after dropping 14 of the previous 17, during which coach John Stevens was fired and replaced by Peter Laviolette.
Carter has seven goals and eight assists over 12 games - including two assists at New York on Dec. 30 - after getting three and one, respectively, in the previous 13.
Philadelphia is expected to give Ray Emery(notes) a third consecutive start Thursday after he missed the previous 16 games while recovering from abdominal surgery. Emery made 25 saves against the Blue Jackets two nights after stopping 17 shots in a 5-3 loss at Washington.
“I thought (Tuesday) was another step for him,” Laviolette told the team’s official Web site. “Defensively, I thought that we were tighter in front of him. We didn’t allow the odd-man rushes and didn’t turn the puck over.
Emery is 5-1-0 with a 1.66 GAA and a shutout in seven games against the Rangers, but he hasn’t started against them since making 32 stops in a 3-2 win at New York on March 13, 2007.