When the New York Rangers play their best hockey it is a physical, grinding game that limits and frustrates their opponents throughout the game. New York played that beautifully today in order to down the rival Philadelphia Flyers 2-0. This was the type of 60 minute effort that the team has not be able to consistently put together thus far, and that is necessary against the better teams. Playing like this gives the Rangers belief they can compete with any team in the league, if they play their game.
Brandon Prust set the tone off the opening faceoff when he dropped the gloves with Zac Rinaldo just four seconds into the game. Prust was not done as he fought Wayne Simmonds later in the period after Simmonds had attempted to start multiple scraps earlier in the period. The rest of the period saw beautiful hitting, lots of extra-curricular after the whistles and everything you expect from a rivalry game with bad blood.
The excitement continued at the start of the second with the Rangers scoring twice, once legally, in the opening minute of the period. Brad Richards appeared to score the opening goal 30 seconds into the period, but after review it was determined that Ryan Callahan used his glove to sweep the puck in the net. Richards would get his power play goal in the end however when he shot from the left circle and beat Bobrovsky far post :54 seconds into the period. Callahan got a large measure of redemption on the goal as his screen was beautiful and completed stopped Bobrovsky from seeing Richards’ shot.
The Rangers took the 2-0 lead when Carl Hagelin scored his first NHL goal 5:06 into the third period. The Hagelin goal was the epitome of how the Rangers are when they play at their best. Hagelin and Mitchell worked the cycle down low against the boards with Mitchell eventually finding McDonagh at the point and Hagelin crashed the net. Hagelin got the initial rebound on McDonagh’s shot only to be turned aside by Bobrovsky before scoring on his second chance.
Lundqvist was brilliant when he had to be in stopping all 29 Flyers shots to record his second shutout of the season. Typically the team owes Lundqvist for bailing them out, but this afternoon the defense was extremely stingy in giving up any prime chances and closed off the Flyers top line excellently. Some of that credit goes to Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, but don’t lose sight of the job done by Richards, Callahan and Ruslan Fedotenko as they were the matched up against Giroux, Hartnell and Voracek all game.
- Prust might not be playing to the level of last season, but he showed today that he can still lift this team with his fighting.
- Hagelin and Mitchell are both making cases to stay in the lineup beyond just a short stint and seem to have energized Brian Boyle to an extent.
- The win gave the Rangers their second consecutive win while improving their home record to 6-1-1, which is the best home start since 1992-93 when they were 7-1-1.