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Flyers-Rangers Preview

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ray Emery leaves the ice after Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers, Thursday, April 17, 2014, in New York. The Rangers won the game 4-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) Photo:

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ray Emery leaves the ice after Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers, Thursday, April 17, 2014, in New York. The Rangers won the game 4-1. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The New York Rangers had been playing some of the NHL's best hockey before running into a pair of disappointing results.

They'll look to bounce back Saturday when they host the rival Philadelphia Flyers, who have been the Eastern Conference's worst team over the last month.

New York (16-5-2) went a league-best 11-1-0 from Oct. 25-Nov. 23, but its home winning streak was snapped at nine with Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Montreal before the Rangers collapsed late in a 4-3 loss at Boston on Friday.

The defeat against the Canadiens was the Rangers' largest at Madison Square Garden in more than a year, while the loss to the Bruins marked their first consecutive losses since a three-game skid Oct. 13-18. Rick Nash scored his sixth goal in four games against Boston, but New York surrendered two goals in the final four minutes.

"For most of the year the bounces have been going our way, but it's always not going to be perfect and you're not going to win them all," defenseman Dan Girardi told the team's official website. "But we had the lead there and needed to close it out."

The Rangers were also concerned with the loss of Derek Stepan, who suffered broken ribs on a hard hit by Matt Beleskey in the second period. Stepan played another shift, but didn't return for the third and is out indefinitely. He has six goals and six assists.

"In our opinion, it was a late hit," coach Alain Vigneault said. "More than a second, and he was a couple of feet away from the boards. So we'll have to wait and see."

Philadelphia won 3-2 in a shootout at home against New York on Oct. 24, but has since gone an East-worst 4-8-4, including Friday's 3-2 overtime win against Nashville.

The Flyers (8-10-5) won behind Shayne Gostisbehere's power-play goal in the extra period after giving up the tying tally with 20 seconds left in regulation. Gostisbehere, playing his ninth career game, scored in overtime for the second time in three contests.

"It's a fun ride right now, and I don't have any plans of getting off it," he said. "I've never scored that many OT winners in my life, so it's a surreal moment."

They still rank last in the NHL with 1.8 goals per game, and a number of top players are going through rough droughts. Second-leading goal-scorer Brayden Schenn has two goals in his last four games, and just one in his last 15 against the Rangers. Wayne Simmonds led the team last season with 28 goals but has just three through 23 games.

Backup Antti Raanta will get the nod for New York after Henrik Lundqvist started Friday. Raanta is undefeated in four starts with a 1.25 goals-against average and one shutout. He's also 2-1 in three starts against Philadelphia after posting a 32-save shutout in his most recent matchup Oct. 21, 2014.

Michael Neuvirth started Friday, so Steve Mason figures to be between the pipes for the Flyers. Mason has lost eight of his last nine starts but is 6-3-1 with a 2.40 GAA in 11 career starts against the Rangers.

Philadelphia is one shy of its first three-game win streak in the series since taking five in a row April 11, 2010-Feb. 20, 2011.

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