The New York Rangers topped the Philadelphia Flyers this evening by a score of 4-2 at Madison Square Garden.
Well, you might as well rename this game the "Ryan Callahan and Rick Nash show." The captain and Nash came away with two goals apiece tonight, in a very hard fought victory on home ice. Henrik Lundqvist was left out to dry on the two Philadelphia Flyer goals in the first period, but came back with vengeance in the third period, and absolutely stood on his head.
The penalties started quick as Kimmo Timonen was whistled down for an early holding penalty, which sent the New York Rangers directly to a powerplay. Just 21 seconds later, the Rangers jumped out to the early 1-0 lead with a powerplay goal coming from Ryan Callahan at 1:30 of the first period. Derek Stepan made a beautiful pass through the slot, and found Callahan right on the faceoff dot for the layup. The penalties than began to pile up in bunches for the Rangers which lead to two Flyer goals as they took a 2-1 lead midway through the first period.
Wayne Simmonds picked up the first goal as he redirected home a pass from Claude Giroux along the corner boards. Simmonds was basically all by himself in front of Henrik Lundqvist, as the Rangers were all discombobulated following a shot block attempt. Jakub Voracek converted just ten minutes after the first one, as he banged home a rebound after two attempts at it. His first shot was initially blocked, but he was able to get a hold of the bouncing puck and flip it over Lundqvist for the 2-1 lead.
Ryan Callahan clearly wasn't happy about his penalty leading to the go ahead goal, so what does he do? He kindly skates down the ice, smokes the defender, and finishes it off with a beautiful cut-back move across Ilya Bryzgalov and ties the game at two. That's why Ryan Callahan wears the big red C on his shirt, for that exact type of response.
After a goal filled period, the Rangers and Flyers would battle it out in a scoreless second period to keep it deadlocked at 2-2 heading into the third period. A little over two minutes into the third period, Rick Nash struck for the Rangers as his sniped home a shot just under the blocker of Bryzgalov on the 2-on-1 rush. Sometimes, it's not all about the moves, and that was exactly what Nash did. However, sometimes it is about the moves. Eight minutes after putting the Rangers up by one, Rick Nash does what he does best, and powered his way to the net. While being hooked in the process, he somehow managed to make a move around Bryzgalov, and slipped the puck into the gaping net.
There are times when there is no correct words to describe what Rick Nash brings to the table, and that was exactly one of those times. Absolutely amazing. Although, there was a very scary moment in the third period as Marc Staal was hit with a puck around the area of his eye, and was basically flailing around the ice in pain. After staying down for several minutes, he was able to skate off to the locker room. After the game, there were some rumors that Staal was taken to the hospital, but that were soon squashed by Rick Carpiniello over at Rangers Report, who confirmed Staal was never taken to the hospital. That's definitely some good news surrounding Staal, but you can never judge those type of things from replays or what is being spread around. Hopefully Staal is not seriously injuries with that, because it was a pretty horrific scene to see in person, and on the replays.
There was some pressure by the Flyers late in the game, which their goalie pulled, but Henrik Lundqvist was up to the task as he turned away every possible threat. With a little help from the five guys in front of him, Lundqvist and the Rangers were able to hold onto the 4-2 victory, which is their third straight win. The Rangers upcoming schedule should allow the Rangers to string together a few winning streaks, in the event that they keep up this pace. The Rangers will have an off-day before they head into Long Island for a battle with the New York Islanders. That one should be fun.