The Flyers ended a two-game losing streak with a 4-2 win in Pittsburgh Thursday.
"As soon as the Pittsburgh game ended, we started focusing on the New York game," winger Wayne Simmonds said. "We didn't play the way we wanted to the last two times in New York and it's our rivalry and we can't lose games on our own turf."
"They pretty much had us down and played the way they wanted," Claude Giroux said. "We have to make sure we play the same way we did against Pittsburgh and play our kind of hockey."
Center Danny Briere said the Flyers' despise for New York "is there even more" because of the two losses to the Rangers. "With the Classic, it just keeps building. We're battling for first in the Atlantic with [them] and Pittsburgh."
When the Flyers played in the Winter Classic in Boston two years ago, "the game itself wasn't as big as far as the standings. This is huge," Briere said.
The Flyers have 10 players who have played in a Winter Classic, including seven who were in the game in Boston. The Rangers have just two players with a Winter Classic appearance on their resume.
"We've played in it and know what to expect," Hartnell said. "I think it'll help a little bit, but obviously we have to play well in the game. . . . As soon as the puck drops you kind of focus on what we have to do and there are no distractions of being outside and [wondering] if it's going to rain or if it's going to be windy.
"You have to focus on the game and try to leave the other stuff on the back of your mind."
Breakaways. Simmonds got hit in the hand with a shot in practice but said it was "no big deal" and that he would be fine for the game. . . . James van Riemsdyk missed practice, and the Flyers called it a maintenance day, but the Flyers winger appears to be laboring on the ice and reportedly has a hip injury. He played just 9:36 in the last game. . . . In the teams' two meetings, the Rangers are 2 for 6 on the power play while the Flyers are 1 for 6. . . . Some Flyers attended Saturday's alumni game, won by the hosts, 3-1. . . . Several teams have put in bids for next year's Winter Classic, including the Florida Panthers, said an NHL official.
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitetr@BroadStBull.