The New York Rangers came into today’s game looking to respond from their awful performance on Friday night and get a monkey off their back against the rival Flyers. They were able to successfully pull off the former of those goals, for half the game at least, but they would fall to Philadelphia for the fourth consecutive time this season. At this point it is not an exaggeration to say they own the Rangers and these dreams that many fans have that this team can beat Philly in a playoff series are more like fantasies right now.
At some point the Rangers are also going to have to realize that against all teams, but especially the better ones, you have to play a 60 minute game if you want to win. Instead what we had today was a game eerily similar to many of late where the Rangers trail by two after the second period, making a furious comeback attempt in the third and come up short.
New York came out like an inspired team early in the first period. The team pushed the pace, got the forecheck working and creating a number of early scoring chances, which actually netted a reward for a change. At 12:43 of the first period Wojtek Wolski would give the Rangers the first goal in the game for the first time in eight games. Ryan McDonagh would fire a shot from the point which was wide on the short side and it would end up on Wolski’s stick in the slot. His shot would tickle through Boucher, but Wolski would make it a no doubter as he got his stick on the puck again on the goal-line before Boucher could glove it.
After the goal the Rangers forgot they have to keep playing that way and the Flyers would dominate the rest of the first period. With just over three minutes to play in the first, Jeff Carter would score and erase all the good work New York had done to that point in the game. The goal itself was relatively lucky as the Flyer threw the puck at the slot and it went off Carter’s stick, through the traffic in front and beat Lundqvist five-hole.
Following the first period Marian Gaborik did not return to the game and after the game it was announced that he has a concussion, which is not thought to have been suffered in this game.
The second period was abysmal. The Flyers wanted everything more than the Rangers and unlike New York, when they got their chances they cashed them in. The Flyers were given a gift power play just past the mid-point of the period when Wolski was given two minutes for boarding on an obvious dive. Philly would score just 23 seconds into the man advantage when after Lundqivst made a tremendous save on Jeff Carter, Carter threw a beautiful backhand pass to Claude Giroux who lifted the puck over a downed Lundqvist.
The Flyers would add another later in the period, Dan Carcillo would get behind both Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer and slide a soft backhand shot by Lundqvist to make it 3-1.
Brian Boucher would go down just under five minutes into the period after taking a knee to the head from teammate Kimmo Timmonen, but he would stay in the game. Just 34 seconds after that Derek Stepan would get a tap in goal to make it 3-2 with plenty of time remaining on the clock.
Despite dominating the rest of the period the Rangers would fall and Versteeg would cap it with an empty-netter with 45.3 seconds left on the clock.
- Derek Stepan was everywhere today and his line with Wolski and Zuccarello was clearly the Rangers best as it was when it was together earlier in the year. Hopefully they will be left together now.
- Ryan McDonagh keeps up his tremendous play.
More later when the Rangers announce the recall ahead of the huge game at Carolina on Tuesday.