Here’s what you need to know for tonight’s games, both of which start at 8 p.m. ET:
The Flyers (7-7-2) and Rangers (7-7-4) are playing for the first time since last spring’s opening-round playoff series, which New York won in seven games.
Both teams sit in the middle of the pack in the Metropolitan Division despite featuring three of hockey’s top offensive players. Philly’s Jakub Voracek is tied with Sidney Crosby for the NHL scoring lead with 26 points, and teammate Claude Giroux is also in the top 10 with 21 points. New York’s Rick Nash is tied for second in the league in goals with 12.
Giroux has been ruled out for tonight’s game with a lower-body injury suffered during practice, ending his consecutive-games streak at 146.
The beneficiary of his absence could be R.J. Umberger, who is expected to play on a line with Voracek. As per NJ.com’s Randy Miller, the two were on a line together in Columbus for three seasons (2008-09 to 2010-11) before Voracek was traded to Philly, and Umberger had his two best goal-scoring seasons during that time, with 26- and 25-goal campaigns.
Here's Voracek setting up Umberger for a goal during a lopsided loss to Vancouver in 2010. Ah, the memories.
In an all-Canadian Pacific Division matchup, Vancouver visits Edmonton for what’s already the fourth meeting between these teams this season. The Canucks have won all three so far, by an aggregate score of 10-6, which includes a shootout victory.
After tonight, these teams won’t meet again until their season finale on April 11 in Vancouver.
The Canucks should come into this one with fresh legs. They got four full days off after Friday’s 5-0 home loss to Arizona. Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said his team wasn’t “hungry enough” despite its outshooting the Coyotes 35-23.
Vancouver (12-6-0) sits third in the division with 24 points but has played two fewer games than Calgary (26) and Anaheim (27).
Oilers struggle vs. Miller
Edmonton (6-10-2) finds itself in a familiar spot: last in the division and with one of the worst records in hockey. The Oilers, who also lost to Arizona in their most recent game (a 2-1 decision on Sunday), have dropped three in a row and have yet to defeat a Western Conference opponent in nine tries this season.
If that’s to change, the Oilers must figure out a way to beat Ryan Miller. The Canucks goalie, who spent the bulk of his career in Buffalo before splitting last season between the Sabres and St. Louis, is 10-0 with a 1.79 goals-against average lifetime against the Oilers.
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