Recap: Rangers Clinch Playoff Berth With Overtime Thriller 

Recap: Rangers Clinch Playoff Berth With Overtime Thriller 
Mar 26, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Egor Zamula (5) skates off the ice as the New York Rangers celebrate a game winning goal by New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (not pictured) during overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Any game between the Rangers and Flyers is bound to be exciting in itself but there was a little more at stake tonight. With a win, the Rangers would clinch their playoff berth and be the first team in the league to hit the 100 point mark. There were a couple of other circumstances that would lead to them clinching as well but at the end of the day, you want to control your destiny and pick up the win in those situations.

Couple of other pregame notes. Alex Wennberg would be a late healthy scratch due to personal reasons. Jonny Brodzinski, who was set to be the extra forward, would slot in his place. Meanwhile, Erik Gustafsson, who is listed as day-to-day after taking a tough hit in overtime against the Panthers, would come out of the line-up leaving Brandon Scanlin the opportunity to make his NHL debut.

Lastly, Peter Laviolette sat at 799 career wins as an NHL Coach heading into this game, meaning he was on the brink of quite a milestone.

1st Period:

The teams got off to a slow and steady start but once they settled into play, both sides exchanged long offensive zone shifts with lengthy pressure. One of the first things noticeable on the Rangers side of things was the pairing of Adam Fox and Zac Jones. The two skilled defenders who play a similar style albeit on different levels, looked incredibly solid right from the jump, making their presence known all over the ice early.

Right around the midway point of the period, a strong forecheck from Bobby Brink forced Alexis Lafrenière to turn the puck over high in the slot. Brink then took the puck in on a breakaway from in close where Igor Shesterkin was forced to come up with a massive save. Right after that, Shesterkin had to shut down a second chance from Owen Tippett which sent the puck out of play which blew the play dead.

As the period went on, it was the Flyers maintaining the majority of the offensive zone possession. After a bit of a tough shift from the Rangers fourth line in which they struggled to get the puck out of the zone, Matt Rempe came up with a gutsy effort to get in front of a shot from the point which helped his linemates finally clear the zone.

In the final two minutes of what was an otherwise loosely officiated period, Adam Fox hooked the stick of Tyson Foerster which earned him the first penalty of the evening. Rangers did a great job of pressuring the Flyers power play units which helped limit their chances to just two shots on goal throughout the man advantage. That just about did it for what was a rather quiet opening period. Shots were 15-9 in favor of Philadelphia whose aggressive style of play forced three Rangers turnovers, keeping the puck in their end of the ice for most of the game’s first twenty.

2nd Period:

Second period got off to a bit more life as a light scrum ensued following one of the Rangers earlier chances, mainly involving Vincent Trocheck and the rest of the Flyers. An interesting formation soon followed as Matt Rempe briefly joined the line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider for an offensive zone face-off. However, the Rangers weren’t able to do anything off the draw which had Jack Roslovic quickly joining in his usual place.

Not long after, Travis Konecny did a good job of moving the puck up ice to Scott Laughton, who came in on the rush and let a perfect shot go over the glove side of Shesterkin to make it a 1-0 game in Philly’s favor.

A nice passing play from Zibanejad and Panarin set Zac Jones up for one of the Rangers best chances of the night but a big save from Samuel Ersson helped keep a hold of his team’s one goal lead. Approaching the midway point of the game, the Rangers were really struggling to show any signs of enthusiasm regarding their play. Aside from that Rempe block, there really wasn’t a ton of energy behind their game and it didn’t help that the Flyers were playing a really tight, clean game.

Tyson Foerster would draw the Rangers second penalty of the night as Vincent Trocheck was sent off for tripping. This would either become a great chance for the Rangers to gain some momentum, or lose it even more and sure enough, they certainly wouldn’t gain momentum. A good passing play from the Flyers resulted in Laughton sending it over to Poehling who was able to redirect the pass through the legs of Shesterkin to make it a 2-0 game.

With five minutes to go in the period, the Rangers only had three shots on goal and were in desperate need of something to go their way. The Rangers finally got their first power play chance of the night as Tyson Foerster was sent off for high sticking Adam Fox in the neutral zone. This was exactly what the team needed as it took them less than a minute on the man advantage to find the back of the net. Fox and Panarin set up Zibanejad for the shot as Kreider provided the screen to keep Mika March going strong. 1-1 game.

It would be Mika’s goal but the big storyline there would be Artemiy Panarin’s assist which comes as his 100th point of the season. It just can’t be overstated how impressive of a season it’s been for the Rangers top forward.

The Rangers would head into intermission down by a goal for the second time tonight but picking up that power play goal towards the end of an otherwise brutal period was huge. After two, shots were now 27-18 in favor of the Flyers. A lot of line jumbling took place as the Rangers coaching staff looked to find a spark somewhere but finally got it on the power play. This team would need to find an even bigger spark in the third if they were going to complete the comeback.

3rd Period:

A minute and a half into the final period of regulation, a tremendous forecheck from Kaapo Kakko forced a turnover and led to a fantastic pass to Jonny Brodzinski in the slot. Brodzinski, who wasn’t even supposed to play tonight, let an outstanding shot go from the slot that fired right past Ersson to tie the game up, 2-2.

Just about a minute later the Rangers were firing on all cylinders which resulted in the play starting and ending with Alexis Lafrenière. After putting the initial shot on net, Lafrenière was able to jam home the loose puck after a flurry of chances which resulted in the Rangers first lead of the night, 3-2.

For a moment it seemed like it was a whole new game. The Rangers completely took control and spent a long shift in the Flyers zone. Alas, one turnover led to Travis Konecny going the other way with the puck and beating Shesterkin on a clean shot glove side that he is going to wish he could have back.. And just like that we were back to square one.

The Rangers sent the Flyers back to the power play with the midway point of the third approaching as Jones clipped Morgan Frost up high with the stick. It would end up working out in their favor as the Rangers ended up with an odd-man rush shorthanded. Trocheck collided with a Flyers skater on the way out of the zone and Mika Zibanejad pulled off a beautiful move to get around the lone defender, dishing over to Trocheck to put the puck home right on the doorstep.

The Flyers on the other hand, were not going down without a fight and Igor Shesterkin could not seem to catch a break here in the third period. Owen Tippett came down on a partial breakaway and ripped a backhander off the post. Of course the puck went off the post, bounced off the back of Shesterkin and went in to tie things up yet again, 4-4.

With six minutes to go, an offensive zone face-off win for Trocheck resulted in a quick shot from Artemiy Panarin. Konecny was able to block the shot which left him struggling to get up but Lafrenière was right there to throw the puck back on net which went right past Ersson for Lafrenière’s second of the night. The Rangers once again regained the lead now 5-4.

Couple of minutes later… Here we go again. A mad scramble in Shesterkin’s crease resulted in Tyson Foerster tying things up at five. Another brutal giveaway from Jimmy Vesey who had easily his worst game as Ranger across both of his tenures in New York mixed with some tough puck luck as it danced around the goal line.

It was only fitting that this wild game, that included seven goals between both teams across the third period, would come down to an overtime decision. The Rangers held on through the final minutes of regulation after being out-shot by the Flyers 41-27 through regulation.


It would only take the Rangers 36 seconds as Vincent Trocheck won the face-off and a tremendous entry from Artemiy Panarin kept the play alive. They would find Adam Fox at the point who walked the shot in and beat Ersson to pick up a massive win. They wouldn’t know it, but heading into overtime the Rangers had already clinched their playoff berth as a result of Detroit losing to the Capitals but it feels so much better clinching on a win.

Stick taps as well for Peter Laviolette who picked up his 800th career win behind an NHL bench.

What a weird game. It was quite lifeless through the majority of the first two periods but a late second period goal sparked some energy for the Rangers to climb their way back into things. An action packed third period consisting of back-to-back-to-back goals forced overtime for the Rangers to win 6-5. Far from a great game on the Rangers end but it doesn’t matter. They got the two points, they punched their playoff ticket and for that, they should be damn proud of the season they’ve had so far. Plenty of work left ahead and that will pick back up with a late night puck drop in Colorado with the Avalanche on Thursday Night.