New York @ Philadelphia preview
Wells Fargo Center
Last Meeting ( Mar 1, 2023 ) NY Rangers 3, Philadelphia 2
John Tortorella and Peter Laviolette have plenty of experience coaching the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively.
Now Tortorella and Laviolette are bringing their familiar brand of instant results to the Flyers and Rangers.
The teams will each look to continue their early-season surges Friday afternoon, when Philadelphia hosts New York in a battle of longtime division rivals.
Both teams were off on Thanksgiving after playing division games on the road Wednesday, when the Flyers fell to the New York Islanders 3-2 and the Rangers edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Flyers, who fell to 10-8-1 in their second season under Tortorella. Philadelphia hasn't made the playoffs since 2020, but all four of the teams Tortorella has coached for more than one season reached the postseason in his first full campaign on the bench.
Tortorella coached the Rangers from late in the 2008-09 season through the 2012-13 season. New York reached the playoffs in each of his final three full seasons.
The Flyers went 31-38-13 last season, when their playoff hopes all but ended with a 3-8-4 November in which they endured a 10-game losing streak (0-7-3). The five-game winning streak that ended Wednesday was Philadelphia's longest since an eight-game run from Feb. 18 through March 7, 2020.
The Flyers never led Wednesday but outshot the Islanders 36-25, including 14-4 in the third period, when Joel Farabee's goal with 4:04 pulled the visitors within one.
"You win five, you lose one -- you just get ready for your next game and try to be better in certain areas," Tortorella said. "There's couple areas I think we can improve on. We'll try to get that done."
Laviolette is doing with the Rangers what he's done at most of his previous stops. Four of the first five teams Laviolette coached reached the playoffs in his first full season at the helm.
Philadelphia made its most recent trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2009-10, when Laviolette coached the final 57 regular-season games following the firing of John Stevens.
New York, which fired Gerard Gallant in May after consecutive trips to the playoffs, is atop the Metropolitan Division with a 13-3-1 record and 27 points, second-most in the Eastern Conference behind the Boston Bruins and tied for the third-most in the NHL overall.
The win Wednesday was the fifth in the past six games (5-1-0) for the Rangers, who haven't lost consecutive games this season. New York fell 6-3 to the Dallas Stars on Monday but killed off five penalties and rode a 32-save performance from Jonathan Quick to its second shutout of the season Wednesday.
Alexis Lafreniere scored in the first period for the Rangers, who outshot the Penguins 36-32 overall, including 32-17 over the first 40 minutes.
"It was a really good division game," Laviolette said. "I thought our guys came out really well and did a good job, especially in the first period just getting right back on it."
- Field Level Media