Flyers aim to get on track against Rangers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers will try to break out of a recent slump when they host the rival New York Rangers in Friday's matinee battle at Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers have lost six of their last seven games, but hope to return to the win column this afternoon when the club opens a home-and-home series against a Metropolitan Division foe.

The Rangers, who will host Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon, have won three of four and six of the past nine overall meetings in this series. The Flyers, however, have claimed three straight and four of the past five encounters in the City of Brotherly Love. The clubs recently met on Nov. 19 in New York and Rangers backup goaltender Cam Talbot shut out the Flyers in the 2-0 triumph.

New York also won a playoff series against Philly last spring, taking the opening-round matchup in seven games before making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Flyers have gone 0-1-1 in a pair of road games since picking up a home win Saturday against Columbus. Philadelphia was blanked 1-0 in Monday's shootout loss to the New York Islanders and then dropped a 5-2 decision Wednesday night in Detroit.

Pavel Datsyuk scored twice to help the Red Wings breeze to the victory over the Flyers. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek tallied for the Flyers, who fell to 1-5-1 since a three-game winning streak from Nov. 4-8.

Steve Mason took the loss, charged with three goals on 14 shots over 31-plus minutes. Ray Emery subbed for the remainder of the game and made nine stops.

"It's pretty easy to see things slipping away, to see points that are up for grabs and other teams are grabbing them and you're not and you're falling behind," said Mason.

The Flyers fell to 2-7-1 on the road, but Craig Berube's club is 6-3-2 at home.

New York will try to get back on track after having a two-game win streak halted Wednesday in Tampa. The Lightning spoiled Martin St. Louis' return to Central Florida, as ex-Ranger Ryan Callahan had two goals and an assist to help the Bolts record a 4-3 victory at Amalie Arena.

The pre-game buildup was solely centered on St. Louis' first game in Tampa since the Lightning's all-time leading scorer requested and was granted a trade to the Rangers on March 5. However, it was Callahan -- the key player Tampa Bay received in the blockbuster swap -- who earned the night's First Star as St. Louis was held off the scoresheet.

Callahan also had two goals in his return to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 17, keying a 5-1 rout of the Rangers.

New York entered the anticipated matchup off shutout wins over Philadelphia and Montreal, but Henrik Lundqvist stopped just 25-of-29 shots in the loss. Rick Nash recorded a goal and an assist for the Rangers, with Mats Zuccarello and Dan Boyle also scoring in defeat.

Talbot, who hasn't played since beating the Flyers last week, will get the start in net today. He is 1-1-0 with a 1.01 GAA in his career versus Philly.

Mason is 4-2-1 with a 2.45 GAA in his career against the Blueshirts, while Emery boasts a lifetime 7-2-0 record and a stout 1.87 GAA in this series.