GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Another day, another test. A visit to Philadelphia on Saturday marks the third game in the last week in which the Rangers will play one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They passed the first two tests, beating the Capitals and Penguins and outscoring those two powers 11-1.
On Saturday it's the Flyers, who own the NHL's best record (21-7-5) and had the most goals in the league (113) entering Friday. They will be without Chris Pronger, who's out four to six weeks with a broken foot, but the Flyers are where the Rangers want to be: atop the conference.
"We've had a steady climb here so far, and this is another highly touted team in the conference we're facing," Marc Staal said. "To go down there and get a win would obviously be good for the team and good to try and get ahead of them in the standings."
There aren't too many teams ahead of the Rangers these days. They have a three-game winning streak and 20 victories; entering Friday, only the Flyers and Penguins had more. No team has more road wins than the Rangers (12-5-0).
So these days the Rangers aren't questioning themselves and whether they can hang with the elite teams. "Every game is sort of a test that way," Brian Boyle said. "We know we can play with anybody. That's all that really matters."
Their last visit to Philadelphia (Nov. 4) resulted in a 4-1 loss. The Rangers have won 14 of 22 since then. "We don't think about what happened," John Tortorella said. "We're trying to build who we are and keep ourselves [playing] the right way."
Notes & quotes: F Dale Weise was recalled from the AHL Connecticut Whale (formerly the Hartford Wolf Pack) and likely will play Saturday in place of Todd White. Tortorella is looking for "someone who can give us energy in a place where we usually need it," meaning the unfriendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center. Weise is 6-5-11 with 22 penalty minutes in 12 games for the Whale.