PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers finally reached the .500 level Saturday with a hard-earned 2-1 win over Ottawa, but now comes the difficult part: trying to get "past the break-even mark.
The Flyers begin a challenging stretch Tuesday, facing the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden before hosting archrival Pittsburgh on Thursday and then meeting the streaking Bruins in Boston on Saturday afternoon.
"We are aware that in March we play a lot of very good teams. It's where we want it," captain Claude Giroux said after the Flyers (11-11-1) hit .500 on their seventh try. "We want to get better every game. It doesn't matter who we play. All we know is, we need to work on our game and (Saturday's win) was a good way to kick off March. Hopefully, we can keep going."
The Flyers play 13 games this month. By comparison, they played 15 games in a 27-day span in February, the first full month of the shortened season.
The Flyers are eighth in the Eastern Conference, but have played more games than their rivals.
"The most important thing is we keep winning and have a big month," said coach Peter Laviolette, whose team has 23 out of a possible 46 points. "We've talked about the month of March and having to put some wins together in order to move ourselves up in the standings."
The Flyers have not won in Madison Square Garden in their last five visits since 2011, including a 2-1 loss on Jan. 29.
Fourth-line winger Harry Zolnierczyk was suspended by the NHL for four games Sunday because of a hit he delivered to the head of Ottawa's Mike Lundin on Saturday.
Mike Knuble is expected to take his spot in the lineup.
Brendan Shanahan, the league's dean of discipline, said Zolnierczyk "launched before contact was made" and that Lundin suffered a serious injury. The defenseman has a concussion.
Zolnierczyk will lose almost $13,000 in salary for the four games he misses.
Asked if defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who is rehabbing from a dislocated left shoulder, would be ready to play Tuesday, general manager Paul Holmgren said would not commit. "All I know is that today is Sunday and he is improving," Holmgren said.
The Flyers were not on the ice Sunday because they took part in the 36th annual Flyers Wives Carnival at the Wells Fargo Center. Before Sunday, the carnival had raised more than $25 million for local charities. ... Zac Rinaldo was proud he drew a five-minute cross-checking penalty Saturday on Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, who also received a game misconduct. "I always watched him growing up, so I think it was pretty cool," he said. ... The Flyers will practice in Voorhees on Monday at 11 a.m.; practices are free and open to the public.
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