The Rangers got a much needed 2-0 win on home-ice against the Philadelphia Flyers in a nationally televised game on Wednesday night. A certain morale booster for a club that has been teetering on the edge of a free fall. [Blueshirt Banter] [Blueshirts United] [Rangers Unlimited] [NY Rangers Blog] [NY Times] [Newsday]
NYR spoiled the return of Michael Del Zotto to MSG, who got a smattering of boos all game and left in the third period with an undisclosed injury. [NY Daily News] [NY Post]
It was a complete effort, as the even strength game flow indicates. May want to nip that score effect tail in the bud at the end there though. Can't let better teams get so many late opportunities:
A word of caution: the Flyers are reeling too, and have been for a bit. Nevertheless, the Blueshirts needed to rebound and earn two points. AV called for a tighter game in all three zones. He got it. [NY Post] [SNY]
Here's what Vigneault had to say in response to getting up for this game, and the Flyers in general:
"That was a little better, eh? ... I don’t have an answer for you right now. We know the right way to play. We have proven it on a number of occasions against some very good teams and we need to do it with consistency."
This goal was pretty beautiful, don't you think? Steve Mason's body language as he looked across the gaping net was nothing short of priceless.
Cam Talbot earned his fourth career shutout with 31 stops, several of the spectacular variety. The Prince certainly did himself a favor, as he had scuffled in limited appearances this season. [NY Post] [NY Times]
Talbot played a focused "Allaire" brand of goaltending, with tight short movements and controlled telescoping, to allow him to better transition his body side-to-side and seal off laterally passed shot attempts he could not square up and set for. Here's one great example.
Video courtesy of NHL.com
Give credit where it is due: The 4th line, which included Tanner Glass, played spectacularly at even strength last night. They limited chances and drove play all night, as reflected by the shot attempt battle Corsi For and Corsi Against (CF and CA, all shot attempts).
Granted, they got a steady diet of the Flyers' abysmal bottom 6, and RJ Umberger is nearing Tanner Glass levels of play-driving ineptitude. They only saw a minute of the first line and nearly all of their zone starts were in the offensive zone. So they weren't sent out to be a shutdown defensive line, and were decidedly sheltered.
Tanner Glass is still a fumblepuck who scares me every time the thing is near him. Looks like the team knows it too, as the puck simply didn't move in his direction much all game. That said, I don't care who you are or who you are matched up against or how inept you may appear to be, maintaining 85% of the shot attempts while on ice in an NHL game is hard to do. Can't hate.
Hey! No fights? Sorry Bloodsport fans. The NHL has changed, and this rivalry will too. These teams are not laced with too many facepunchers, keeping the intensity squarely before the whistle is blown. [WSJ]
So the Rangers move on to Buffalo for a Friday matchup. We think. The weather doesn't look great. Buffalo has been dumped on and they are measuring up to 5 feet of snow in some areas. The plan is to practice at 1pm today and see where things stand before heading up. [Weather Channel] [ESPN] [Sporting News]
The Sabres have recently made efforts to climb out of the abyss, but you can't help but think that the organization is in a full on race to the bottom. Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have something to do with that. [Rolling Stone]
Ryan McDonagh remains on track to return in about 2 weeks. [Newsday]
Last but not least, my thoughts go out to the students and faculty at Florida State, in the wake of another scary shooting tragedy that occurred last night. [CNN]
Be nice to each other. Have a wonderful day.