A few weeks ago, it felt like this weekend home-and-home series would have more potential to be a trap for the Flyers than a big game with a lot of playoff implications. But the New York Rangers have emerged as the hottest team in hockey at the moment, rolling off wins in nine of their last 10 games, including five straight following Thursday's comeback win over the Canadiens.

This recent surge has the Rangers just two points out of a playoff spot, while the Flyers, on a four-game winning streak of their own, look to maintain their place in third in the Metro with their sights now firmly set on taking another step and trying to catch the teams at the top.

It all starts on Friday night, when the Flyers play host in the weekend opener. Game time is 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia FlyersGPGAPNew York RangersGPGAP
Travis Konecny60223557Artemi Panarin62325587
Sean Couturier63193655Mika Zibanejad50303262
Claude Giroux63173047Ryan Strome63184058
Jake Voracek63123446Tony DeAngelo61133447
James van Riemsdyk 63182139Chris Kreider62242145
Player to Watch
13 Kevin Hayes10 Artemi Panarin
Last 5 Games: 4 G, 2 A, 6 P, +4Last 5 Games: 3 G, 6 A, 9 P, +8
Kevin Hayes continues to have a very strong season. With four goals in his last four games, including a two-goal game on Tuesday, Hayes is now just four goals shy of matching his career high. In his first meeting against his former team in December, Hayes had two goals, including the game-winner.
Artemi Panarin's recent hot streak has him set to set a new career high in points. He enters Friday's game on a streak of four straight multi-point games and is tied for his career mark in points with 87 on the season.
Projected Goalie Matchup
79 Carter Hart40 Alexandar Georgiev
38 GP, 20-12-3, 2.51 GAA, .909 SV%30 GP, 16-12-1, 2.94 GAA, .914 SV%

Carter Hart gets back in the net on home ice once again, looking for his fourth straight win. Hart made 26 saves in Tuesday's win over the Sharks. Hart was also in goal against the Rangers in the Flyers 5-1 win on Dec. 23, making 34 saves.

The Rangers have leaned heavily on Alexander Georgiev with newcomer Igor Shesterkin on the shelf with an injury and that means Georgiev will make his third start in four nights on Friday in Philadelphia. Georgiev had a solid game on Thursday, making 32 saves in a win over Montreal. Georgiev has won four of his last five starts, including both starts this week. He has seen a large volume of shots in the last four games specifically. A total of 149 shots have been fired his way and the Rangers netminder has allowed just eight goals.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Nolan Patrick (migrane disorder, out indefinitely), Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma, out for season)

Scratches: Shayne Gostisbehere

Left WingCenterRight Wing
28 Claude Giroux14 Sean Couturier93 Jake Voracek
21 Scott Laughton13 Kevin Hayes11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk38 Derek Grant18 Tyler Pitlick
12 Michael Raffl44 Nate Thompson62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Defense
9 Ivan Provorov15 Matt Niskanen
6 Travis Sanheim5 Phil Myers
8 Robert Hagg61 Justin Braun
Goalie
79 Carter Hart37 Brian Elliott

Lineup Notes

Kevin Hayes and Matt Niskanen were not at practice on Thursday for maintenance days, but are both expected to play. There are no changes expected to the lineup as a result.

Rangers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Igor Shesterkin, Pavel Buchnevich, Michael Haley

Left WingCenterRight Wing
20 Chris Kreider93 Mika Zibanejad72 Filip Chytil
10 Artemi Panarin16 Ryan Strome17 Jesper Fast
33 Phil Di Giuseppe21 Brett Howden24 Kaapo Kakko
48 Brendan Lemieux14 Greg McKegg12 Julien Gauthier
Defense
42 Brendan Smith8 Jacob Trouba
55 Ryan Lindgren23 Adam Fox
18 Marc Staal77 Tony DeAngelo
Goalie
40 Alexandar Georgiev30 Henrik Lundqvist

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (14th), Rangers (6th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (T-9th), Rangers (18th)
  • Recent History vs. Rangers
    • Nov. 23, 2018 - Flyers 4, Rangers 0 (at PHI)
    • Dec. 23, 2018 - Flyers 3, Rangers 2 (F/SO) (at NYR)
    • Jan. 29, 2019 - Flyers 1, Rangers 0 (at NYR)
    • March 31, 2019 - Rangers 3, Flyers 0 (at PHI)
    • Dec. 23, 2019 - Flyers 5, Rangers 1 (at PHI)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Rangers
    • Claude Giroux - 54 GP, 10 G, 39 A, 49 P
    • Jake Voracek - 40 GP, 13 G, 17 A, 30 P
    • Travis Konecny - 13 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 P
    • Carter Hart - 2 GP, 1-1-0, 2.00 GAA, .933 SV%

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic/97.3 ESPN

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.