The New York Rangers built on yesterday's big win in Philadelphia, and continued their dominance over the Philadelphia Flyers with a 5-2 win at Madison Square Garden. Derick Brassard had a big game today for the Rangers as he notched a pair of goals, while J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast each scored their first goals of the season. Henrik Lundqvist wasn't that busy in the early going, but played exceptional when the game was knotted up at 2-2, which gave the Rangers the opportunity to jump ahead in the third period.
Exactly a minute into the first period, the Rangers caught their first break of the game as Claude Giroux took an undisciplined high sticking penalty, which resulted in a 4:00 minute power play. The Rangers eventually made the most of their opportunity, and capitalized on a power play goal coming from Derick Brassard. Rick Nash created the goal by corralling the puck down low, which froze the Flyers penalty killers, and quickly dished it off to Brassard for the one-timer.
For the remainder of the power play, the Rangers had several other opportunities to widen their lead, but Ray Emery stood on his head early in the game. A little over 11 minutes after Brassard gave the Rangers the lead, Nicklas Grossmann tied up the game for the Flyers, as he sniped a hard wrist shot over the shoulder of Lundqvist. The Rangers blew their coverage in the defensive zone, which left Grossmann wide open up top with a year and a day to pick his spot.
The goal was definitely deflating, especially after the Rangers carried a majority of the play in the first period, but one mistake wound up costing them. Eight minutes into the second period, though, the Rangers wound up surrendering their second goal of the game, which gave the Flyers their first lead of the afternoon. Just prior to the goal, Mats Zuccarello took a very undisciplined penalty after he was tangled up with Michael Raffl in the corner, which sent the Flyers to the power play.
Nearing the end of the power play, the Flyers finally set it up in the offensive zone, and the puck eventually worked its way over to Jakub Voracek. Voracek wound up receiving a pretty pass from Brayden Schenn in the slot, and he ripped it past Lundqvist before he could even react to the shot. From that point on, things appeared to take a turn for the worst, as Flyers started carrying the play midway through the second period.
However, the Rangers finally found some life a few minutes later as Jesper Fast notched his first career NHL goal, and tied the game back up at two. Fast was able to maneuver his way through four separate defenders, before he snapped the puck over the shoulder of Ray Emery. Following the goal, you could easily tell the Rangers had turned their game up a notch, and started taking it to the Flyers once again.
Then, in the third period, the Rangers broke through with three goals, which essentially ended the game for the Flyers. The first goal came courtesy of Derick Brassard, as he converted on a 3-on-2 rush after receiving a perfect pass from Kevin Hayes. Six minutes later, the Rangers extended their lead to 4-2 with J.T. Miller dancing his way around Mark Streit, and stuffing in the wraparound on Ray Emery. Miller, and the new-look fourth line as a whole today played outstanding, and finally provided the Rangers with the bottom-six stability they have been searching for.
Lee Stempniak eventually closed out the scoring for the Rangers after he came away with the empty-netter to seal the game at 5-2. The Rangers were able to come away with two huge wins this weekend, which has put them back into a playoff spot, and closes the gap on the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. These next few games will be a big test for the Rangers as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Hopefully they are able to use this string of wins as stepping stones for next week.