Minus Giroux, Flyers battle Rangers at MSG

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(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Metropolitan Division rivals will try to halt losing streaks on Wednesday, as the New York Rangers host the Philadelphia Flyers in a clash at Madison Square Garden.

The Flyers enter their first meeting with the Rangers this season on a two- game slide, losing both in regulation, while New York has dropped three in a row but has earned a point from two shootout losses during that span.

Wednesday's clash is the first encounter between the clubs since the Rangers beat Philadelphia 2-1 in a Game 7 at MSG on April 30. After taking that opening round series, New York went on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994, although it lost in five games to Los Angeles.

The Rangers have claimed five of eight and 13 of the past 17 regular-season meetings with Philadelphia and New York has claimed eight straight in the Big Apple over that stretch.

The Flyers also will be facing New York tonight without captain Claude Giroux. Philadelphia's top centerman missed practice Tuesday with a lower-body injury and was ruled out for tonight's game in Manhattan later in the day.

Philadelphia recalled young centerman Scott Laughton from its AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Laughton, the 20th overall pick of the 2012 draft, is leading the Phantoms with six goals and is tied for the team lead with 11 points. He has yet to record a point in five games at the NHL level.

Defensemen Andrew MacDonald (knee) and Luke Schenn (shoulder) are also questionable for Philadelphia. MacDonald has missed the last nine games, while Schenn has missed the last two.

New York dropped consecutive shootout decisions against Colorado and Pittsburgh before getting slammed 5-1 on Monday by Ryan Callahan and the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. Callahan, a former Rangers captain, scored two goals to lead the rout.

Callahan, along with fellow teammates Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman, played against their former Rangers team for the first time. Callahan was dealt to the Lightning at last season's trade deadline in exchange for Martin St. Louis, who also was Tampa's captain at the time of the deal.

"It's tough coming back here and there was a range of emotions," said Callahan. "I was captain of this team for 2 1/2 years and played here for eight. The Rangers are a class organization."

New York will welcome another ex-Ranger to MSG tonight, as Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto is facing the Blueshirts for the first time since getting dealt to Nashville last January. The 24-year-old Del Zotto, a former Rangers first-round pick, has two goals and six assists in 16 games for Philadelphia this season.

St. Louis, the Lightning's all-time leading point producer, had the only goal of the game for the Rangers against Tampa. Monday's tilt also marked his first time facing the Lightning since the trade.

"This was a tough loss, a tough nut," said St. Louis. "It's mostly because of the way we played. We didn't play anywhere close to the way we have to play to give ourselves a chance."

Henrik Lundqvist allowed all five goals on 30 shots in the loss, which dropped the reigning Eastern Conference champions to 5-4-3 on home ice. The Rangers are capping a brief two-game road trip tonight before visiting Buffalo on Friday.

New York is just 2-3-4 in November and will try to avoid its first four-game losing streak since an 0-3-1 skid from Dec. 7-12 of last season.

The Flyers, meanwhile, have lost two in a row on the heels of a three-game winning streak. Philadelphia dropped a 4-3 decision to visiting Columbus on Friday and was handed a 6-3 loss the following night in Montreal.

P.A. Parenteau and Dale Weise each registered a pair of goals to lead the Habs to the easy win over the Flyers. Philadelphia was down 2-0 before the midway point of the opening period and trailed by three goals before finally getting one past Montreal goaltender Carey Price late in the second stanza.

"When a team scores like that early, it takes the momentum away from the guys," offered Flyers head coach Craig Berube. "We battled back in the second, and we put ourselves in position to get back in this game, but we let it get away from us again in the third."

Brayden Schenn tallied twice and Jakub Voracek added a pair of assists for the Flyers. Voracek, who has registered a point in a career-high 10 straight games, has 26 points this season and is tied with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead.

Ray Emery was shelled for all six goals on 28 shots, falling to 4-2-1 on the season. With the Flyers also playing a home game Thursday against Minnesota it's unclear if regular starter Steve Mason will get the call tonight or tomorrow. Mason boasts a 4-1-1 record and a 2.49 goals against average in his career against the Rangers. Emery is 7-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA in 10 career games (9 starts) versus New York.

Cam Talbot will give Lundqvist a rare break tonight, as the backup is expected to make his fourth start of the season. Talbot is 0-2-1 so far in 2014-15, and his only career appearance versus Philly resulted in defeat, He was saddled with the loss after stopping 25 shots in his NHL debut in Philadelphia on Oct. 24 of last season.