New York seeks its seventh victory in eight games Saturday night as it visits a Philadelphia team that stumbled in its return from the Olympic break.
After guiding Sweden to the gold-medal game in Sochi, Henrik Lundqvist got some extra rest during Thursday's 2-1 victory over Chicago. Rookie Cam Talbot made 31 saves in his place and was 11.6 seconds away from earning a shutout.
"To come out and beat the defending champs coming off a break like that is a good measuring stick for us," Talbot said. "We know when we play our best hockey we can beat anyone."
Talbot survived a late flurry from the Blackhawks, and he could be back in goal Sunday when the Rangers (33-24-3) host Boston in their third game in four days.
Derick Brassard and Rick Nash each scored against Chicago to help New York move three points ahead of Philadelphia for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
"A win is a win," Nash said. "It's two points at the end of the day. I don't think anybody expected it to be that tight (at the end), but it's a huge win, huge two points."
Lundqvist won his last five starts while posting a 1.77 goals-against average prior to the Olympics. He's 12-2-0 with a 1.77 GAA in his last 14 starts against the Flyers.
"First game at home after the break, Chicago, it was important to win," defenseman Marc Staal said. "Obviously the ending of the game is not the way we wanted to do it, but I thought we played pretty well. It was big for us just to get that. We were playing so well going into the break, and having that feeling come back to the room I think is pretty big."
The Flyers (30-24-6) also were playing well before the NHL's hiatus, but they had their four-game winning streak snapped with Thursday's 7-3 loss to San Jose. Andrej Meszaros and Brayden Schenn scored the final two goals of the first period to take a 2-1 lead, but Philadelphia allowed five in the second.
"Not competing around our net, that's basically what it boils down to," coach Craig Berube said. "Not getting sticks, not boxing people out, not being hard on people. We didn't compete hard enough to win the hockey game. Nobody."
Steve Mason was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots, and Ray Emery gave up three on 13 shots in relief. It's unclear who will start against New York, but Berube is expecting a much better result.
"I expect a big game against the Rangers. I really do," Berube said. "They're embarrassed. We're all embarrassed from (Thursday)."
Brassard and Nash each scored to lead New York to a 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Jan. 12 that evened the season series after Braydon Coburn's third-period goal gave the Flyers a 2-1 victory Oct. 24.
Lundqvist made 37 saves in the last meeting. Emery stopped 31 shots, but Mason won the first matchup with a 30-save effort.
The Flyers have lost 12 of their last 15 against the Rangers, with all three victories coming at home.