Flyers visit Rangers in Winter Classic preview

In 10 days, the Rangers and Flyers will meet outdoors in Philadelphia in the annual Winter Classic.

In a prelude to that highly-anticipated matchup, New York and Philadelphia will collide tonight at the famous Madison Square Garden, where the Blueshirts have shutout the Orange and Black in the past two meetings there.

On Jan. 2, the Flyers will host the Rangers at Citizens Bank Park, home of Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies, in the fifth edition of the Winter Classic. The build up for that meeting will get a jolt tonight as the clubs square off in New York for the second time this season.

The Rangers blanked the Flyers 2-0 in the first encounter on Nov. 26, their third straight win overall in this series since dropping five in a row. That win streak began with a 7-0 drubbing of Philadelphia at MSG on March 6.

Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves in his fourth career shutout of the Flyers, while Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin had the Ranger goals.

Both New York and Philadelphia are tied for the fewest regulation losses in the NHL with eight. The Flyers lead the Eastern Conference with 46 points, two more than the Rangers, and are 8-1-1 so far in December.

That includes a split of the first two contests of a five-game road trip that carries Philly into the Winter Classic. The Flyers began the swing with a shootout loss in Colorado prior to Wednesday's 4-1 victory in Dallas.

Returning from a four-game absence due to a concussion, Claude Giroux had a goal and three assists to key the win and regain the league lead in points with 43. Giroux scored Philadelphia's first goal of the game after the Stars had drawn first blood just 56 seconds in.

"We had a bad start, but we didn't look back after that," said Giroux, who had a point in five straight before his injury. "It was nice to get back out on the ice and I felt good out there tonight."

Jaromir Jagr, Wayne Simmonds and Andrej Meszaros also scored for the Flyers, who are 10-2-1 in their past 13 and are a club-record 13-3-2 through their first 18 road games of the season. Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves.

Philadelphia will look to cool off a New York team that has won three straight and five of seven following last night's 4-2 victory over the instate-rival Islanders.

Brandon Dubinsky scored for the first time in 17 games and had an assist, while Marian Gaborik moved into a tie for the league lead with 20 goals, reaching the mark for a third straight season and for the eighth time in his career.

Gaborik has 16 goals and 11 assists over his last 25 games for New York, which also got goals from Michael Del Zotto and John Mitchell.

Rangers head coach John Tortorella praised his club for not looking too far ahead to tonight's matchup.

"No disrespect to the Islanders, but I know our players are looking to that Philadelphia game," said Tortorella. "I don't think we got ahead of ourselves. I don't think we were great tonight, but I don't think we got ahead of ourselves."

Martin Biron gave Lundqvist the night off last night and won his seventh game with 24 saves. The duo has combined to allow the second-fewest goals in the league this season.

"You feel a sense of pride just producing for the team and being part of a great tandem with Hank," Biron said. "That's pride right there to know that I'm giving him something and he's responding the other way. It's great for this team to see that we're in the top defensively."

New York improved to 9-3-2 at home this year.