RANGERS RECORD: 1-2-0 (2 PTS)
THEME: UP, UP AND AWAY
PLUS: Marian Gaborik hot after hat trick against Boston. Ryan Callahan leading more than ever; finished with nine hits against Boston and four blocked shots. Getting the first pair of points relieves a lot of pressure; media and otherwise. Top line of Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash was dominant; borderline scary.
MINUS: The power play, which included a five-on-three advantage. Chris Kreider's play, so far.
EVEN: Defenseman Dan Girardi led all Rangers in ice time, logging 26:47. Look for Girardi to eclipse that number matching against all-world talent in Flyers captain Claude Giroux.
FAN COMMENT: From Jared Lane of Livingston, New Jersey. "John Tortorella's decision to unite Gabby with Richards and Nash was a stroke of genius. Philly is faltering and ready to be taken. The Flyers have given up eleven goals in three games."
KEYS TO STOPPING THE FLYERS:
1. Don't get caught up ice. Philly plays a fast-paced game and will look for quick, breakout passes to neutralize the Rangers forecheck.
2. Flyers are bad on the penalty-kill; surrendering six goals on 16 PK opportunities. Rangers power play must prevail.
3. Exploit the goaltending advantage. As always, the Flyers are mediocre between the pipes.
4. Take out Wayne Simmonds, the big Philly forward who loves to park around the crease.
1. Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi vs. Claude Giroux and whoever replaces injured Scott Hartnell.
2. Rick Nash vs. Braydon Coburn: Peter Laviolette would be wise to use his big Dman to handled the extra-large Nash.
3. Ryan Callahan vs. Ilya Bryzgalov: Cally is crucial to getting the Rangers power play ignited. He'll be planting himself around the Flyers crease.
4. Sean Couturier vs. Marian Gaborik: Philly has one of the best shutdown artists -- See Couturier vs. Evgeni Malkin last Spring -- and he'll be looking out for the Rangers hat trick man.