New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers Pick & Prediction APRIL 11th 2024

Not only were the New York Rangers unable to clinch the Metropolitan Division title Tuesday night, but they also emerged from a rough performance against the New York Islanders slightly less healthy.

The Rangers cannot clinch the division title Thursday night but are hoping forward Mika Zibanejad will be available when they host the floundering Philadelphia Flyers.

New York (53-22-4) holds a three-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the division after Tuesday, when the Rangers allowed the first three goals in a 4-2 loss to the Islanders in their visit to Elmont, N.Y.

The Rangers saw their three-game winning streak stopped and lost for only the second time in 10 games (8-2-0). Meanwhile, the Hurricanes beat the Bruins, a result that prevented the Bruins from gaining on New York for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Shortly after New York’s loss, the Dallas Stars wrapped up a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres to pull within one point of the Rangers in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.

“Their desperation level, their intensity, their attitude was higher than ours out of the gate,” New York captain Jacob Trouba said. “That’s the level we’ve got to get to start ramping our game up for the playoffs.”

More concerning to the Rangers was Zibanejad taking a hard hit from Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech with about 11 minutes left in the third period, a hit that coach Peter Laviolette thought was intentional. Zibanejad did not play the rest of the game but returned to the bench in the final seconds, a possible sign he was not seriously hurt and could play Thursday.

“It was hard out there tonight, having to get through all of that,” Laviolette said. “But our guys kept fighting and battling to the end.”

Philadelphia (36-32-11) returns to New York for the second time in a little over two weeks and on an eight-game losing streak (0-6-2). On March 26, the Flyers blew a two-goal lead and took a 6-5 loss when Adam Fox scored 36 seconds into overtime.

The previous meeting was the second loss in Philadelphia’s current skid, when the Flyers were third in the Metropolitan Division with a one-point lead over the Washington Capitals. Philadelphia is mathematically alive and heads into the game two points behind Washington for the second wild-card spot. The Pittsburgh Penguins are also one point ahead of the Flyers, and both the Capitals and Penguins have a game in hand over Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has been outscored 42-18 during its untimely skid.

Five of the losses were by at least three goals, and Philadelphia also saw its road losing streak extended to eight games (0-5-3), including the last three, the latest a 9-3 loss at Montreal on Tuesday.

“I’m not questioning their effort,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “I just think we’ve lost ourselves in managing games and I think some guys may feel it a little bit because they want to try to get us out of this. But I don’t question the care, I don’t question the effort because it’s been a strong group all year long.”

New York has won the past six meetings and is 9-0-1 in the past 10 encounters.

–Field Level Media

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