Garden has been Flyers' house of horrors

For the Flyers, recent history at the Garden has been more about thorns, less about roses.

Entering Wednesday's second-place showdown against the New York Rangers, the Flyers have lost seven straight at Madison Square Garden since 2011, getting outscored, 28-8.

"It's a tough building. I don't know what it is about it," center Claude Giroux said after Tuesday's practice in Voorhees. "We'll have to make sure the first period is our best period and go from there."

The Rangers scored three goals in the first 9 minutes, 24 seconds in their 4-1 win over the visiting Flyers on Jan. 12.

The Flyers are coming off Monday's 3-2 loss to Los Angeles. The defeat snapped their five-game winning streak and, coupled with the Rangers' comeback victory over Phoenix, dropped the Flyers into third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind New York. The Flyers have two games in hand.

The Flyers are 2-1 against the Rangers this season, but they fell behind early and were never competitive in the loss at Madison Square Garden.

"I don't think I've won there since I've been in the NHL," said Jake Voracek, whose Flyers and Columbus teams are 0-7 in New York in his six-year career. "Hopefully, we can break that. . . . We just have to make sure we keep them to the outside and stay tight in our zone and stay patient. I'm very excited about the game."

The Rangers, winners of four straight, are just 17-16-4 at home; they have a better record (23-13) on the road.

Since teams that finish No. 2 and No. 3 in the division will face each other in the postseason, Wednesday's game could be a first-round playoff preview.

"It's going to be a tone-setter," said winger Wayne Simmonds, who is tied with Giroux for the team lead with 24 goals. "We're going to try to set a tone. If we do happen to play them in the playoffs, they're going to definitely know what the Philadelphia Flyers are bringing to the table."

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has a 26-13-3 career record against the Flyers with a 2.53 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, and he was in the nets for the last seven wins against them in New York.

"We've got to make sure we're competing hard around the net and getting traffic in front of him - and getting some dirty goals on him," Flyers coach Craig Berube said.

Establishing the forecheck and "playing hard but smart," Berube said, are the keys for his team. "We've got to get pucks in deep and get physical with them and make it a hard game. That's when we're a successful team."

Despite their recent five-game winning streak - and their 37-19-7 record since their 1-7 start - the Flyers are not assured a playoff spot.

"That's the league," Berube said. "It's a very balanced league and teams are going to win their games, so you have to keep winning."

Especially if they want to finish ahead of a Rangers team that has a relatively easy schedule down the stretch. After Wednesday's matchup with the Flyers, the Rangers have eight games remaining and only two are against teams in playoff spots.

The Flyers have 10 games left after Wednesday, and seven are against teams in the playoff hunt.


Garden Nightmares

The Flyers have lost their last seven games at Madison Square Garden by a combined 28-8. Here are the details of the Garden losing streak:


Jan. 12, 2014   4-1   Ray Emery

March 5, 2013   4-2   Ilya Bryzgalov

Jan. 29, 2013   2-1   Bryzgalov

Feb. 5, 2012   5-2   Bryzgalov

Dec. 23, 2011   4-2   Bryzgalov

Nov. 26, 2011   2-0   Sergei Bobrovsky

March 6, 2011   7-0   Brian Boucher