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Recap: Kreider’s OT Winner Lifts Rangers Over Flyers, 1-0

PING. PING. PING. PING.

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After a successful weekend in the Southwest, the Rangers looked to keep the good times rolling, starting a four-game home stand with a match up against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The first period was fairly uneventful. There was less than one xG between the two teams, demonstrating a lack of both quality and quantity of chances. Vincent Trocheck hit the post on a deflection of an Alexis Lafrenière pass, and Chris Kreider and Ryan Lindgren each had a scoring opportunity in close late in the period, but the Rangers otherwise did not provide much of a challenge for Carter Hart. Likewise, Igor Shesterkin did not face many attempts either, but he too answered the call on each shot his way. Kreider took the only penalty, which the Rangers killed off. The crowd expressed some displeasure while some defender quarterbacked the Flyers power play. I wonder what that was about.

Moving hastily on, the Rangers came out skating in the second period, spending most of the first seven minutes in the Flyers’ zone. The relentless pressure led to a Rangers power play, as Kappo Kakko, who was excellent all night, drew a tripping call in front of the net. Mika Zibanejad ripped a couple good shots from his left circle, and Kreider jammed for a few loose pucks, but they were unable to finish. Though the unit did not score and was only credited with three shots on goal, they sustained pressure and felt dangerous as ever. They followed that up with nearly two straight minutes in the Flyers zone before a Zibanejad wrist shot beat Hart, only to find iron once again. The crowd buzzed with anticipation as the offense piled chances. The momentum might have shifted toward the Flyers after Artemi Panarin took an offensive zone penalty. But even being shorthanded barely slowed down the Rangers, as Kreider hit yet another post on a breakaway. The period ended with a scrum behind the Rangers yet, perhaps an expression of the Flyers’ frustration. Though the game was still scoreless, the Rangers offense felt Inevitable.

Rangers Shot Pressure After Period 2, via HockeyViz

However, the offense would have to wait, as the Flyers began the third on a power play. After an easy kill, they earned their own man advantage as Trocheck drew a trip from former Ranger Justin Braun. Trocheck would have the best chance on the powerplay after some quick movement with Panarin and Kreider, but he shot the put over the net. After the penalty expired, Lafrenière found himself in front with some space, and–you guessed it–hit the post with a backhander. Late in the period, Kevin Hayes had two excellent chances of his own-first a wrister on a rush, and then a backhander in close–but in both times Shesterkin made highlight reel saves with the glove to keep the game tied at zero.

The 3-on-3 overtime saw both teams with a couple more chances. Hayes was stopped one last time on the doorstep, and Kreider and Panarin each had shots from good positions. With less than a minute left in the OT, both teams found themselves taking a long shift. The Flyers missed a shot that ricocheted around the boards. Zibanejad recovered the puck and set Kreider up for a breakaway. Finally, finally, Kreider put the game away with a quick deke and backhand in a moment of great catharsis.

The Rangers once again dominated the pace of play, but came away with only a narrow margin of victory. Carter Hart, with the help of some lucky bounces, did everything he could to keep the Flyers in it, but the Rangers outclassed the Flyers in every other aspect. Igor Shesterkin logged his first shutout of the season.

The Rangers home stand will continue Thursday, when they host Patrice Bergeron and the red hot Boston Bruins.