The New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers this evening by a score of 3-1, and have now won five straight games heading into the final stretch. This game was essentially a four point swing with it being a divisional game, and once again the Rangers came out on top in a big game. Henrik Lundqvist was, well, Henrik Lundqvist-like once again, and continued to shutdown the Flyers all night long. His highlight of the night came when he robbed Adam Hall on a juicy rebound in front, and I'm sure everyone is still trying to figure out how he got a handle on it.
The first period of this game wasn't so favorable to the Rangers but yet, they were able to score the game's first goal. Brian Boyle made a great play along the boards to keep the puck alive, and wound up getting a shot through to Steve Mason. With Mason not fully being set after playing the puck, Derek Dorsett slammed home the loose puck in the crease, and gave the Rangers the early 1-0 lead.
Dorsett wound up coming away with the Broadway Hat tonight, and it was definitely well deserved. With Daniel Carcillo out with the flu, Dorsett had a chance to prove his worth once again, and he definitely did so. Not only did he come away with the goal, but he was finishing all of his checks, and was strong on the puck below the goal line.
Then during the second half of this game, the Rangers really went to work in the offensive zone. 5:34 into the second period, Ryan McDonagh does what Ryan McDonagh does best, and sniped a shot over the shoulder of Steve Mason. I mean, I could probably watch that replay for the next two hours, and it would get better every single time I watch it. Yes, it was really that pretty.
Alain Vigneault fell right into all of the McDonagh hype during his post-game press conference, and mentioned that McDonagh should be a series candidate for the Norris Trophy. Can really anyone go against that? McDonagh has been lights out this season, and has basically surpassed his previous career totals in just a single season. It's going to be a lot of fun watching him for at least another 6+ years.
Anyways, back to the game. The Rangers continued to ramp up their pressure on the Flyers, and eventually came away with their third goal of the game. This time it was Dominic Moore, who wound up getting a piece of Kevin Klein's point shot, and the puck just barely squeezed over the line. That goal was pretty much the nail in the coffin for the Flyers, as McDonagh's goal in the second period deflated them.
With a little under two minutes remaining, Jakub Voracek finally broke the scoreless drought for the Flyers, as he rifled a howitzer over the shoulder of Lundqvist. The Rangers eventually closed out the game on the penalty kill, and did a tremendous job of not allowing the Flyers to get any shots through to the net. With five straight wins, the Rangers are now three points clear of the Philadelphia Flyers in the standings, but still have two more games played. They're also six points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who currently sit in one of the two wild card spots.
With a huge western road trip coming up, the Rangers have a pretty big opportunity to put even more space between themselves and the teams chasing them. Their next two games are against the Calgary Flames, and the Edmonton Oilers, two teams who are well out of the playoff race, and are basically playing spoilers at this time of year. The Rangers cannot afford to let those points slip away.