Rangers-Flyers Preview

The Associated Press

Off to their worst start in 17 seasons, the Philadelphia Flyers are eager to turn things around.

Doing so, however, could prove difficult with Scott Hartnell out indefinitely.

In their first game since losing Hartnell to a left foot injury, the Flyers try to pick up their first points Thursday night against a New York Rangers team that's had their number of late.

After getting outscored 8-3 in losses to Pittsburgh and Buffalo, Philadelphia's woes continued Tuesday in a 3-0 loss at New Jersey. The Flyers, who were held scoreless on six power-play opportunities, dropped to 0-3-0 for the first time since 1994-95.

"It's not time to panic, but we have to tighten the screws," Ilya Bryzgalov said after stopping 23 of 26 shots. "After the bad start we can't keep losing games anymore because you will never get out from the bottom of the standings because you don't have enough games.

"That's why we have to be with the attitude that it's the playoffs."

Already without forward Danny Briere due to a broken left wrist, things aren't about to get any easier for Peter Laviolette's club with Hartnell sidelined. The rugged left wing led Philadelphia with a career-high 37 goals last season.

"We will know more on this within a day or two as we await results of tests," general manager Paul Holmgren told the league's official website.

Forward Brayden Schenn will also miss Thursday's matchup after receiving a one-game suspension for charging Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov. That doesn't bode well for a Flyers team that's been outscored 33-13 during an 0-7-1 skid against New York, dropping all six meetings last season in regulation.

"They got the best of us for sure last year, and certainly we'd like to fix that," said Laviolette, whose team is 1 for 15 on the man advantage this season. "We need to get back on track, whether it's the Rangers, the Devils or the Penguins or the Bruins, it doesn't matter. We need to prepare to win a hockey game (Thursday).

"I don't think necessarily that a record from last year holds weight either way, we'll have to show up and play a hard-fought game. They're a tough team, period. We'll have to make sure that we're prepared."

While the Rangers (1-2-0) also got off to a rough start, they regrouped to beat Boston 4-3 in overtime Wednesday. Marian Gaborik, skating alongside fellow stars Rick Nash and Brad Richards, gave New York an early 2-0 lead, then scored the winner 27 seconds into the extra period for his 14th career hat trick.

"Your best players need to be your best players," coach John Tortorella said of his top line. "They had some dips, as our team did throughout the game, but Gabby came through big."

It was hardly all smooth sailing, though, for New York, which blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2. The Rangers are just 1 for 14 on the power play after Wednesday's 0-for-5 effort.

"We're still a pretty sloppy hockey team, and I think it's going to be that way for a bit," Tortorella said.

Henrik Lundqvist, who made 26 saves Wednesday, has posted a 1.61 goals-against average and two shutouts while starting each game during New York's winning streak in this series. Backup Martin Biron, meanwhile, is 1-4-0 with a 3.44 GAA in his last five matchups against the Flyers.

Bryzgalov, who's compiled a 3.04 GAA thus far, has gone 0-5-0 with a 4.59 mark against the Rangers since the start of 2008-09.

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