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Rangers have beaten Flyers eight straight times at Madison Square Garden

Rick Nash controls the puck in the third

Rick Nash controls the puck in the third period against Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Why might the Rangers have wanted home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs? Try this on for size: They have won eight straight against the Flyers at Madison Square Garden.

Games 1 and 2 against Philadelphia are at the Garden on Thursday and Sunday.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is 26-12-3 against the Flyers, including 12-3 in his last 15 appearances (since March 6, 2011), and has won eight straight against them at the Garden. The Rangers have outscored the Flyers 31-9 during that span and have held Philadelphia to two or fewer goals in all eight games.

Naturally, streaks are made to be broken and the playoffs are a different animal. But trends are trends. This is not the Eric Lindros era. The four games this season have been competitive: The Rangers scored 10 goals, the Flyers eight.

Chris Kreider, who will miss at least the start of the first-round series after having surgery on his left hand March 28, had two goals and two assists to lead the Rangers in scoring against the Flyers. Derick Brassard had two goals and Brad Richards had a goal and two assists. Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh each had a goal and an assist. Dominic Moore, Derek Dorsett and Dan Carcillo had the other goals.

Martin St. Louis, acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 5 for Ryan Callahan, played in only the fourth game. In his career, he is 15-43-58 in 46 games against the Flyers.

The top offensive players in the four games for the Flyers were Matt Read and Mark Streit, each with a goal and two assists. Vincent Lecavalier, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier had a goal and an assist each. Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen each had two assists.

For the Rangers, the power play was 2-for-12 and the penalty kill denied 11 of 13 Flyers chances.

Lundqvist was in net for both wins at the Garden, allowing a goal in each game, and lost, 4-2, in Philadelphia. Cam Talbot, making his NHL debut, was in goal in a 2-1 loss in Philadelphia on Oct. 24.

The Rangers were off Sunday and won't practice Monday, either. They will Tuesday and Wednesday.

New York Sports