The New York Rangers came into Philadelphia tonight, and came away easily their most productive game offensively, in quite some time. Derek Stepan came away with four points tonight, Rick Nash added on another three, and Brad Richards came away with two points of his own. Henrik Lundqvist played solid tonight, and unfortunately, was the victim of a few crappy bounces.
The Rangers have been known for their slow starts lately, and it definitely wasn't the type of start the Rangers needed against a division rival. So what did they do? They came right out of the gate firing away, and Carl Hagelin picked up an early breakaway within the first two minutes. Even though Hagelin wasn't able to score on the breakaway, it set the tone in the Rangers favor, and they didn't look back for the rest of the first period.
John Tortorella put together some new-look lines tonight, and through 20 minutes of play, they seemed to be clicking pretty well so far. The Rangers hard work would eventually give them their first power play of this game, after controlling a majority of the play throughout the first period. Ryan Callahan made a strong move behind the net, and drew Andrej Meszaros into a holding penalty. The power play was a little bit of a buzz kill, especially with the amount of pressure the Rangers were putting on.
The Flyers wound up out shooting the Rangers 3-1 on their own power play, but the Rangers responded shortly after to eliminate that. Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi, and Rick Nash connected on a beautiful passing play in the offensive zone, which led to Nash's 300th career goal. Nash received the pass from Girardi in the high slot, turned towards Ilya Bryzgalov, and ripped it under the cross bar to give the Rangers the late first period lead. Chris Kreider, and J.T. Miller had tremendous first period's as they were able to get their respective scoring chances. Kreider also showed his willingness to throw pucks on the net to generate some scoring chances.
The Rangers kept up their offensive pressure to start out the second period, and were rewarded with an early power play. Simon Gagne took down Michael Del Zotto in the offensive zone, which sent the Rangers to just their second power play of the game. This time around though, the Rangers had some great puck movement in the offensive zone, which paved the way for the eventual power play goal coming Brad Richards. Derek Stepan picked up his second assist of the night as he made a solid tap pass over to Brad Richards, who teed up the shot and ripped it over the right shoulder of Ilya Bryzgalov.
Just two minutes later though, Derek Stepan put the Rangers up 3-0 with a tap in at the top of the crease. Rick Nash made a great effort to get the shot net, which was slightly redirected by Derek Stepan, and fooled Bryzgalov as his misread the puck. Stepan picked up the puck at the top of the crease and had a wide open cage to make it 3-0 Rangers just five minutes into the second period. This was a huge start to the second period the New York Rangers, as they continued their offensive zone dominance.
Everything was going just great for the Rangers, until Brian Boyle took a very undisciplined penalty in the offensive zone, and got his stick up on Matt Read. With that, the Flyers went to their first power play of the game, and had a chance to get some momentum back behind them. Wayne Simmonds wound up coming away with the power play goal, as he chopped at the puck as it landed in front of Henrik Lundqvist, and it leaped over Lundqvist's pad to cut the lead to 3-1.
Speaking of Henrik Lundqvist, he played out his mind in the second period. He made some mind boggling saves on shots which could have easily made this a 3-3 game. Although he wasn't able to maintain the shutout on the power play, he's still played solid for the Rangers tonight. The Flyers were able to pick up the pressure late in the second period, which kept the Rangers pinned in their own end for the final few minutes.
Carrying over to the third period, the Philadelphia Flyers got yet another lucky bounce, as Claude Giroux's shot deflected off of Jakub Voracek's chest, and bounced behind Henrik Lundqvist. Either way, the Rangers quickly shook off the goal, as Rick Nash jammed home a wrap around attempt to put the Rangers back up by two goals. It was a textbook power move by Nash, as he used his body to protect the puck, and his long reach to outstretch Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Rangers quickly gained their first period momentum back with that recent goal by Rick Nash, and it translated to yet another goal to seal this one up for the Rangers. Brad Richards, Michael Del Zotto, and Chris Kreider connected for a highlight reel goal, as Richards dished the puck over to Del Zotto, who than hit Chris Kreider on the back door. For a team that has been lacking confidence over their last couple of games, they finally have some of their swagger back, with that type of goal being scored.
The Rangers were able to hold onto the three goal lead, and walk out of Philadelphia with a huge two points. The Rangers will be on the road tomorrow as they fly into Ottawa, to prepare for another battle with the fiesty Ottawa Senators. This was a big win for the Rangers, and hopefully they can build on that come Thursday.
- Chris Kreider played a fantastic game today, and average exactly 13:00 of ice time tonight. This was a completely different type of Kreider we saw tonight. He's playing with a ton of confidence, and has had a nose for the net. That stint down in Connecticut really helped him out, and it showed greatly tonight.
- Michael Del Zotto anyone? Del Zotto has received a ton of flack for the last several years, but he's finally starting to round out his game, into the type of offensive defenseman the Rangers thought he could be become. That pass on the final goal to Chris Kreider was pure nastiness. Another great outing from DZ.
- How about Derek Stepan as well. He had a career high, four point night, as he came away with a goal and three assists. He too, has finally developed into that top six center the Rangers believed he would become down the road. Man, this kid sure has an exciting future ahead of him.
- Finally, what else is there really say about Rick Nash? He did literally everything he could possible do tonight. He scored two huge goals for the Rangers, including the one which fueled them to fierce third period effort. And not to mention, he was absolutely spectacular in all three zone tonight.
- Finally, we had Brad Richards. He comes away with a huge power play goal to put the Rangers up 2-0, and than contributes to that beautiful passing play to end the game. That's the type of game that will jump start Brad Richards. Hopefully it works.