(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers' push for a postseason spot can ill afford a lengthy losing streak at this juncture.
That being said, the Flyers hope to avoid a third straight defeat when they welcome the rival New York Rangers for Saturday's showdown at Wells Fargo Center.
Philadelphia has lost two straight and four of its last six games and finds itself six points behind Boston for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
In order to get their postseason quest back on track the Flyers will have to avoid a season-series sweep at the hands of the Rangers, who are 3-0 versus Philly this season and have claimed four straight in this matchup. New York had lost three in a row at Wells Fargo Center before notching a 3-0 road victory over the Flyers on Nov. 28.
There was a thought that the Flyers would have defenseman Kimmo Timonen in the lineup for the first time this season tonight, with the veteran having missed the entire season up to this point due to blood clots in his legs and lungs.
However, Philadelphia instead traded the 39-year-old, who had returned to practice with the Flyers, to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday for a pair of draft picks, including a 2015 second-round pick.
The Flyers have lost two straight in regulation, falling in both tests of a two-game road trip. They lost 4-1 at Carolina on Tuesday before dropping a 3-2 decision two nights later in Toronto.
Philadelphia rallied late to make it a one-goal game against the Maple Leafs, but couldn't pot the equalizer.
The Flyers outshot Toronto by a 49-17 margin in the game, but the club found itself down 3-0 after Dion Phaneuf tallied for the Leafs at 1:22 of the third period. Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn each recorded a power-play goal later in the third, with Schenn's marker making it a one-goal game with 5:33 remaining.
Rob Zepp started in net for Philly, but was pulled in the second after yielding two goals on eight shots. Steve Mason, playing for the first time since suffering a knee injury on Feb. 8, stopped 8-of-9 shots the rest of the way.
Mason, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Feb. 8, is expected to start tonight. The Flyers' No. 1 goaltender is 4-3-1 with a 2.52 goals against average in his career versus the Rangers.
New York, which is still playing without its star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, will aim for a fifth straight win this evening. The Rangers also carry a 10- game point streak (8-0-2) into tonight's game.
The Blueshirts had recently moved into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division with the New York Islanders, but the Isles picked up a victory on Friday night to move two points ahead in the standings.
The Rangers are coming off a perfect three-game homestand and capped the stay at Madison Square Garden with Thursday's 4-3 win over Arizona. Lee Stempniak's second goal of the game, which came with 2:14 remaining, lifted the New York to the come-from-behind victory.
Stempniak's two scores and Chris Kreider's second power-play tally of the night enabled the Rangers to overcome a 3-1 deficit after one period.
Kevin Hayes added two assists and Cam Talbot came up with 37 saves for New York.
Talbot has filled in nicely as the club's de facto No. 1 with Lundqvist sidelined due to a vascular injury. He improved to 12-5-3 on the season and is 2-1-0 with a sparkling .67 GAA in three lifetime starts versus the Flyers.
The Rangers will host Nashville on Tuesday in their next game, but tonight's tilt begins a road-heavy part of the scheduled for New York, which has a strong 18-9-1 record away from the Big Apple.
Beginning with tonight, the Blueshirts will play six of their next seven games on the road.