If it wasn’t for two fortunate goals by the Flyers this game, on paper, would look like it did on the ice; a comprehensive victory for the Rangers. Led by the dominant top line the Rangers scored a few impressive goals and got solid performances all over the line up. Brad Richards had his best game in weeks, Lundqvist was solid, Kreider was energetic and dangerous all while Rick Nash and Derek Stepan manhandled the Flyers defense. Stepan in particular seems to grow with every additional game. On to the goal breakdown
Rangers 1-0; Rick Nash (14:54)
The Rangers opened the scoring with a Derek Stepan clinic. First of all, the Rangers center created a turnover behind the Flyers net with some great stick work (doing the basics right, stick on the ice) and eventually sent the puck up to the point where Girardi sent a shot glancing off the post. The puck came back to the Rangers and eventually to Stepan who, positioned to the right of Bryzgalov, sent a crisp pass over to Rick Nash who was moving toward goal and Nash put it top right on the Flyers goalie for the lead. A solid goal, forced by the Rangers desire to retrieve pucks.
Rangers 2-0; Brad Richards PP goal (3:14)
The Rangers got a big second goal early in the middle period as they connected on the powerplay. After initially struggling to get into and set up in the Flyers zone the Rangers finally did and moved the puck around at the blue line when it finally comes to Richards to the left of Bryzgalov, up high. Using defenseman Andrej Meszaros as a screen Richards absolutely rifled one up high past the Flyers goalie. A great shot from Richards to double the lead.
Rangers 3-0; Derek Stepan (5:46)
The Rangers quickly added a third goal to pile on more misery for the Flyers. Derek Stepan, having a brilliant all-round game, was heavily involved again initially behind the net, as the Rangers outworked the Flyers along the boards. While the puck went up toward the blueline Stepan was making his way to the front of the net (more hockey basics being executed well by Stepan) where he would partially screen Bryzgalov, pick up the rebound from Rick Nash’s low shot and put it home past the scrambling Flyers goalie.
Rangers 3 -1 Flyers; Wayne Simmonds (17:53)
The Flyers got on the board late in the second with a powerplay tally but the goal was more down to the Rangers ineptitude than any particular piece of Flyers skill. Following a broken play in the middle of the zone Carl Hagelin had a chance to clear but instead tried to take the puck up ice (or at least doesn’t clear the zone immediately) and gets stripped of the puck. The puck is then put on net by a Flyer which Lundqvist was equal to but on the ensuing goal mouth scramble Rick Nash inadvertently re-directs the bouncing puck into his own goal as Simmonds was getting into position to force home the rebound.
Rangers 3 – 2 Flyers; Jakub Voracek (6:28)
The Flyers scored their second freak goal of the game, a goal which came off a clean face off win by the Flyers. As the Flyers won the face off to the left of Lundqvist, Giroux then took a shot which was going high but came off Jakub Voracek who was battling in front of the net. Voracek knew nothing of the deflection, completely intentional as it was, but the deflection completely threw off Lundqvist who couldn’t stop the puck as it dropped into the net. Other than losing the face off the Rangers didn’t do a whole lot wrong on this goal as even Voracek was well guarded in front.
Rangers 4 -2 Flyers; Rick Nash (7:42)
The Rangers rebounded in style to the Flyers getting within one as the Rangers dominant top line struck again. Following a Stepan face off win the Rangers cycled the puck really well along the boards; first Stepan and then Hagelin before the puck came to Nash who carried it from behind the net, to the right of Bryzgalov and scored on the wrap around sliding the puck under the Flyers goalie banking it in bottom right hand side. The goal was more evidence of the chemistry enjoyed between Hagelin – Stepan – Nash and was the product of great puck retention by the Rangers against the Flyers fourth line.
Rangers 5 – Flyers 2; Chris Kreider (12:13)
Chris Kreider was rewarded for his energetic display all game with the Rangers fifth midway through the third. The goal was the product of a beautiful passing play by the Rangers. Brad Richards carried the puck into the Flyers zone, deliberately slowed up the play then found Kreider up the middle. The winger then played a gorgeous give and go with Michael Del Zotto on the left which drew Bryzgalov out of positioning and allowed Kreider – skating hard to the net – to put the puck into the unmanned net. Every aspect of this goal was well executed by the Rangers and evidence of their growing confidence throughout the game. Goals breed confidence.
Offensively this may have been the best game of the season for the Rangers, as beside the five goals they created plenty more chances and out-skilled a talented (if underachieving) Flyers team. A follow up win on Thursday in Ottawa would be huge.