After Friday's disappointing overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the New York Rangers responded tonight with a huge 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. As a whole, the Rangers stepped up big time defensively, and essentially shutdown the Flyers for a majority of this game. Henrik Lundqvist, who was nine seconds away from back-to-back shutouts, also had a big game and kept the Rangers afloat when they had an occasional breakdown.
As expected, this game started off with fisticuffs, as Dylan McIlrath challenged Wayne Simmonds just 39 seconds into the first period. The opening fight came as a response to Wayne Simmonds' sucker punch back on February 6, which knocked captain Ryan McDonagh out with a concussion. A few moments after that, Tanner Glass wound up dropping the gloves with Ryan White, after laying a punishing hit on Radko Gudas in the corner.
Once the fighting portion of the game was settled, the Rangers went on the attack, and found the first goal of the game. After receiving a quick breakout pass from Keith Yandle, Derick Brassard lugged the puck into the zone at a 1-on-2 disadvantage. However, Brassard had plenty of speed to the outside, and whipped behind the net before the Flyers defensemen could catch their footing.
Steven Mason also wound up overplaying the angle, which allowed Brassard to wrap the puck cleanly around the net, and he stuffed it home on the short side. With an emotional opening few minutes, this was exactly the response the Rangers needed and they took full advantage. Following the goal, both teams settled in defensively and as a result, there was much sustained zone time for either team.
After going scoreless throughout the second period, the Rangers finally got an insurance marker at the 10:34 mark of the third period. Mats Zuccarello got it all started with an insane no-look pass over to Derek Stepan, who finished it off by tapping the puck into the empty net. A little over three minutes later, Radko Gudas sent the Rangers to the power play after he hauled down Chris Kreider on a partial breakaway.
Almost immediately, Zuccarello corralled the puck behind the net and tossed a pass out to Derek Stepan waiting in the faceoff dot. Stepan was able to catch the puck cleanly, and followed it up with a ridiculous shot that slipped just under the crossbar. That goal pretty much sealed the deal for the Rangers, but the Flyers weren't going down without one final push.
With under 10 seconds remaining, Brayden Schenn was able to pickup the rebound at the top of the crease, and spoiled Henrik Lundqvist's shutout bid. As disappointing as it was to loose the shutout, the Rangers were able to grab two big points over a division rival, and continue to roll. The Rangers will be back in action on Wednesday evening, when they welcome in the Chicago Blackhawks to close out their three game home stand.