If there is ever a time for the New York Rangers to prove they have truly turned the corner and are a legitimate playoff contender, it is Sunday night.
They will host the Philadelphia Flyers, who recovered from an extremely slow start to rise their way to a tie for second place in the Metropolitan Division. They have come together under new head coach Craig Berube, and resurgent play from captain Claude Giroux and solid goaltending from Steve Mason have spearheaded the Flyer renaissance.
This will be the first time both teams have met since October, when a struggling Rangers team succumbed to an even more uncertain Flyers team 2-1. A lot has changed for both teams since. The Rangers are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, while the Flyers are 7-3-0. The Rangers have straightened out their defensive and goaltending issues, and the Flyers appear to have straightened out their scoring and goaltending problems.
It is a huge game in the standings for both teams, and the Rangers appear to be ready for the moment. They earned an emotional win against the Chicago Blackhawks and overcame a sluggish performance to win a game against the Dallas Stars Friday night.
Sunday night’s game against the Flyers may be the most emotional of all, not only because of the fierce history between both teams, but because it is a crucial game in the playoff race.
The Rangers’ performance in this game will show us a lot about how far they have come as a team and if they are ready for such a pressure-filled moment.