The Rangers played a strong first period, but terrible second and third periods in this 5-3 win over the Flyers. After the first it was 4-0, but it was all Flyers after that. The Rangers were lucky to be in this game after the second, and even luckier to even have a lead halfway through the third. The Rangers may have won this game –and earned a series sweep against the Flyers– but the Flyers gained killer momentum after this game. They know the Rangers can be beat now.
This recap is half myself, and half Suit. I didn’t get home until the second period, so I missed the good part of the game. Suit covered the first, I covered the second and third. Here’s the breakdown.
First Period (Suit):
Game started off pretty slow, with both teams trading shots, but nothing particularly threatening.
The Rangers were able to get their forecheck going and were able to capitalize. Hagelin got the puck deep. Gabby got to it behind the net and fed Mcdonagh, who came streaking in from the point. Hartnell didn’t pick McD up. Boom. 1-0.
Soon after Staal got called for holding. Joe thought it was a borderline penalty, but Staalsie grabbed Schenn’s arm on a transition rush. That’s going to get called every time. The real problem was Cally abandoned Schenn at Philly’s blueline and Schenn was able to get a step on the Rangers defense.
Hank made a ridiculous second save (glove save while splitting) on the PK. He robbed Simmonds about four feet off the crease. Interestingly enough the Philly scorekeeper marked that shot coming from the faceoff circle. Um, no.
Later in the first Rinaldo took a run at Gaborik. Torts deployed Prust. Prust answered the bell and from there the game went downhill for the Flyers.
Rangers again scored thanks to McD getting a puck on net. Prust won the puck down low, fed McD, who put a beebee on net. Brzy gave up a juicy rebound, which Boyle put easily away.
On a PP towards the end of the period, Girardi hit Artie for a stretch pass through the neutral zone. Artie split the defense and buried a nifty deke past Bryz. 3-0.
The Flyers further buried themselves by high sticking Arty after the goal, drawing blood. Rangers went on a 5 on 3, which Cally easily converted off the cycle. 4-0, with PP mins to spare heading into the second period.
Second Period (Dave):
That save that Hank made with his blocker off the deflection going over his shoulder was magnificent. ESPN’s Top 10 plays could be an entire reel of Hank after this game.
The first Flyers goal was a result of the Rangers not playing the body and then an unlucky bounce of Staal’s skate. The Rangers got lazy in this period, and that goal was a direct result.
Speaking of laziness, how about two poor penalties by Richards and Hagelin? The last thing you can give to a team like Philadelphia is hope. Then the Girardi penalty happened, and it’s 5-2, not 5-1.
That goal by Gaborik just shows how great his season has been. He was able to get such a quick shot after taking that pass. That’s why he’s been so good this year. He’s one of the only players in the league that can shoot mid-stride, and he did it there.
Del Zotto had a good period, especially on that penalty kill. The play that sticks out in my mind is a subtle one though. With Jagr bearing down on him, DZ sticks his ground, and forces Jagr to the outside and behind the net. That’s Defense 101.
Back to that Richards penalty…how does the ref at the red line make that call? That needs to stop, they are wrong more often than right. Actually, the officiating was atrocious in this game for both teams. At the end of this period, you had a feeling this game was going to get out of hand real fast.
Raise your hand if you pooped yourself when Hank hurt his hand on the second goal.
Third Period (Dave)
Too many men penalties shouldn’t happen, but they do. However, it’s unacceptable for me to be able to watch the screen and say “wait a minute, something’s not right here.”
The game may have been 5-2 in the third, but it could have been 5-5 or worse. The Rangers, who had a great first period, looked like they took the rest of the game off. They were lucky to hold on to this game.
That Lilja goes to make it 5-3 was part Cally’s fault and part the rest of the team’s fault. The Rangers were running around and didn’t know where they were going. But Lilja was Cally’s man on that goal.
It looked like the Rangers were trying to play the puck too much in the defensive zone instead of the man. That’s what led to that Lilja goal and a number of Flyers chances.
Sure was an off series of events when the refs waved Fedotenko on the ice after the icing. Cally was on the ice, but the refs said Feds was. Weird. It helped the Rangers though.
How about that phantom high stick on Stepan? Good sell job by Giroux, but it illustrates how bad these refs were.
Right from that Stepan penalty to the end of the game, it was a lot more nerve-wracking than it should have been. The game reminded me of that time in Montreal when the Rangers took a 5-0 lead and then lost 6-5 in a shootout. The only difference is that Hank stook on his head this game. The Rangers owe him one on this. They have the top seed in the Eastern Conference because of him.