Rangers Vs. Flyers Game 1: That Was Exciting

Bruce Bennett

Notes from the Rangers' win over the Flyers in Game 1.

I tweeted this last night, but it's worth saying here again. There really is nothing like walking to The Garden before a New York Rangers playoff game. The electricity, the hum of people, the anticipation and the atmosphere. It's amazing. Really is something you can't replicate.

- That's one of those games where you look at the final score and say, OK the Rangers dominated. Then you look at the stats and say, OK the Rangers dominated there, too. But I have to be honest with you, I don't think the Rangers played a great game the first 45 minutes. They looked lackadaisical on defense, a lot of guys were letting the puck come to them rather than going to the puck and they had some real trouble getting going through the neutral zone.

- That's not me trying to rain on the parade, it's me saying that the Rangers certainly didn't play their best and they still won Game 1. They came alive when they had to and they scored some big goals and won a really, really important game to kick this post season off.

- The game was 1-1 midway through the third. Then the Flyers take a double-minor, and you can sense everyone is thinking the same thing, The Rangers need to get one here. Well, they did more than get one, they got two, scoring on both sides of the double minor. And that was a huge, huge turning point in the game. Not only for the obvious implications of the final score, but also to get the Rangers' power play going which should keep the Flyers a little more disciplined.

- Brad Richards went from having a pretty rough 40-minutes to an amazing game overall thanks to his final scoreline. He really showed off his shot (he's always had a good one) on his power play goal. And his assist on the Derek Stepan goal was brilliant as well. And give Stepan a lot of credit for keeping a hold on that puck (it was a hard pass) and putting it home. That wasn't as easy as he made it look.

- There's been a lot of talk this year about how quiet The Garden has been this year. Not last night. Not even close. And when Stepan scored to make the game 3-1 it was as loud as I've ever heard the place. I actually think the bridges make it even louder. The noise just comes from all sides.

- Rick Nash had a really, really good game. An assist, seven shots and a corsi that was through the roof. That entire line, actually, had a really good night. Nash had a few Grade A chances, and pulled off a jaw-dropping inside-out move and just missed the net. He looked really good.

- Same thing for Martin St. Louis who had two assists and was active all night. He's a playoff performer and he showed it last night. Hopefully there's more where that came from.

- Mats Zuccarello scored a big goal. What else is new? That entire line was awesome. Derick Brassard rang the post and Benoit Pouliot was physical all night.

- Ryan McDonagh looked shaky at first, but then had a massive final 40 minutes. He himself talked about the rough start, but he worked his way through it. Good on Alain Vigneault for keeping him out there, too, to let him work it through.

- He wasn't busy much, but Henrik Lundqvist made some key, big saves. And if you were one of the people who wanted him pulled after the first goal (I saw some of the comments in the game thread) please either relax or take those comments elsewhere.

- Always important to get the first one, especially at home.

Thoughts on that big win?

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