Rangers defense stiffles Flyers in 3-1 win

March 27, 2014, by
Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers and Flyers played what will probably be a first round preview, as these teams appear destined to square off in April when the playoffs open. The Rangers came out a bit flat, but weathered the early storm from Philly before breaking through for a 1-0 lead at the end of the first. The Rangers settled after that, and started controlling the game, forcing the Flyers into some turnovers with a good forecheck and solid neutral zone play.

Henrik Lundqvist was his usual strong self, stopping 30 of 31 shots and really bailing this team out after the sluggish start. The Rangers defense shined throughout this game, completely shutting down a very potent Flyers offense. The Rangers got more offensive from their defense (Ryan McDonagh, as per usual), and even more offense from their fourth line.

On to the goals (no pictures this time, sorry folks):

Rangers 1, Flyers 0

Derek Dorsett made his own luck on this goal with a strong forecheck, forcing Steve Mason to get rid of the puck early. Brian Boyle was able to intercept it and throw it to the front of the net. Dorsett backhanded Boyle’s feed over Mason for the early lead.

Rangers 2, Flyers 0

J.T. Miller, who played a pretty strong game, forced a pair of turnovers on this shift. The first turnover was down in the corner, giving the Rangers possession of the puck deep in Flyer territory. The second forced a bad pass to Jakub Voracek that he could not handle cleanly. McDonagh took the puck from him at the blue line, keeping the zone in the process, and skated to open ice on the near side. McDonagh took an absolute laser of a wrist shot that beat Mason top corner over his blocker.

Rangers 3, Flyers 0

A strong forecheck by Derick Brassard forced Michael Raffl into a turnover in the defensive zone. Dominic Moore Kevin Klein collected the puck at the top of the circle and threw an innocent wrister on net, which Dominic Moore deflected. Mason fumbled it, and it barely crossed the line. Mason wants this one back.

Flyers 1, Rangers 3

The Flyers ran a set face off play, Claude Giroux won the face off clean, moving the puck up to Mark Streit, who moved the puck to Voracek on the weak side. Voracek absolutely ripped it top shelf over Hank to break the shutout.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of Extra Skater

Courtesy of Extra Skater

Although the Flyers controlled the play early on, the relentless pressure from the Rangers on the forecheck led to a lot of opportunities for our heroes in blue. They eventually came out with a solid even strength shot attempt advantage (54.9%).

Win Expectancy Chart:

Courtesy of Extra Skater.

Courtesy of Extra Skater.

This is pretty much what you would expect to see from this chart, based off score, time remaining, and home ice.

This was a huge win for the Rangers, giving themselves a solid three point lead on the Flyers for second in the Metro. The Flyers have two games in hand, but the Rangers now hold the tiebreakers. Plus, this game set the tone for what will likely be a first round matchup with this squad in mid-April. All in all, just a solid team win.

"Rangers defense stiffles Flyers in 3-1 win", 5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings.
Categories : Game Wrap-ups


  1. supermaz says:

    If St.Louis and Nash ever start scoring this team can be scary… the way, love Diaz so far.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      Agreed. This team will be a tough out in the playoff. Not a team others wanna face in the 2nd round. If Nash & MSL got on a hot streak down the stretch and into the playoffs. This Rangers team could make some noise in the East. The Conference goes through Boston.
      I like Diaz too. We have 5 pure shutdown D and the 1 offensive threat from the back end. Mac has been a revelation but he plays well in all 3 zones. Diaz hasn’t played badly in the D zone but has vision like a forward in the attacking zone.
      I thought the Rangers D did an outstanding job keeping the Flyers attack at bay. Philly was kept to the outside most of the night. Hank made the big saves when they did get opportunities to score. Real solid win by the boys.
      I think MSL & Stepan were a little short on energy still. Maybe the flu they had was still slowing them down.

  2. Walt says:

    Solid team effert last night. The more I watch McD, the more I think of how stupid Montreal was in dealing him to us. How lucky were we??

    Sorry folks, MSL looks lost out there, and to add insult to injury, he is pushed around like a rag doll!!!!!

    For the first time last night, on national TV, big McD was mentioned for the Norris, perfect timing for BSB’s discussion yesterday. Keep up the good work guys, we all appreciate your efferts!!

    • SalMerc says:

      Agree. Strong all around game. Let’s give some kudos to Richards, who played a very strong game. I saw some real “power-forward” moves by Nash last night (also mentioned on TV). He can be a beast. Not too many bad things to say.

      • Chris A says:

        Indeed, no points but Nash was a two-way force last night.

        Eventually those turn-and-fire shots from the slot have to go in right?

        • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

          I think I’ve seen that shot go in once. Not a high percentage shot to say the least.

          Nash cheated a few times looking for the breakaway, I thought the Flyers did a good job bottling him up when he did get those 1 on 1s.

          Having said that, he’s really tightened up in his own end, and I think playing on the PK has helped his overall game. He’s been playing much better for a while now, and I just hope we see that carry through to the playoffs.

    • JerseyRanger says:

      MSL did have a tough game, but he’s still recovering from the flu…same with Step…

      Its only a matter of time for him.

  3. JerseyRanger says:

    I would like to give AV credit. He is a refreshing change from Torts, the way he:
    1) rolls 4 lines
    2) stays even keel
    3) distributes the minutes
    4) Stays positive—haven’t really seen him punish players with reduced minutes…maybe just a couple of times.
    5) Has them playing offensive minded hockey, but defending very well
    I wasn’t sure about him the first half of the season, but he has shown he knows what he’s doing. He is the right guy for this team.

    • Dave says:

      I know I harped a lot on Torts not using four lines in the past, but in his defense, he never had this kind of depth. AV has the depth to roll 3 scoring lines and a 4th defensive line. Torts had to use 3 lines in all two-way scenarios.

      • JerseyRanger says:

        but he never guys a chance…sometimess the fourth line would get 5 minutes…AV has given these guys a chance to gel.

      • Chris A says:

        I agree Dave. This is the best fourth line since the days of Dominic Moore and then Blair Betts playing 4th line C.

        But JerseyRanger hit the nail on the head with points 2-5, Torts was extracting too much of a mental toll on this team.

        I hate to mix sports in a discussion, but Torts needs to look in the mirror and make a change like Tom Coughlin did in 2007. Coughlin started to trust his vets more that year and tried to loosen up a little. That year The Giants shocked the world and won the Super Bowl.

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          Torts act wears thin after several yrs..Guys would go thru a wall for him then he would throw them under a bus.He’s a control freak.I agree Chris A Torts wears you down.

          • flatbush says:

            To put it simple, Torts was overbearing while AV is under-bearing. Too much is made about the coaches. The depth charts and skills are different. The players are pros and understand concepts no matter who coaches. Perfect example is Mike Keenan,(very very overbearing but the players get it done.

        • Bob says:

          Agree with Dave. Torts used to rolled 4 lines in Tampa. Tim Taylor achored that 4th line for years and was always avg 10-12 mins a night. Ditto Ryan Craig.

      • Ray says:

        This is not really true. Torts started out with a 4th line which had Betts and Sjostrom on it. The fourth line two years ago was good. Yes, some years the fourth line was putrid, but to be fair to Sather, why maintain a good fourth line that won’t be used anyway.

        Making no judgments, there really is a philosophical difference between AV and Torts. Torts believes that no matter how good the fourth line, guys like Nash and MSL are better and you should ride your good players as much as possible.
        AV believes that Nash and MSL will play better if they play fewer minutes and a truly involved fourth line will do less damage in ten minutes than an uninvolved line will in five.

        Q. How does the Ranger defense compare to two years ago? I.e., is a team better off with a crappy third pair that doesn’t play or an acceptable third pair that keeps McDonagh on the bench more?

        • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

          I believe a balanced D rotation is best. With correct matchups, a solid, yet unspectacular 3rd pairing is ideal for spreading out the minutes, just like rolling the 4th line for 10+ mins a game will do.

          In the 2012 playoff run, McD and Girardi were playing 30+ mins a game, and I think they wore down because of it.

          Especially this time of year, keeping everyone fresh is important.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        As always, Dave, your contextualizing re Torts/bench assets-depth was spot on.

        We’ve gone from an overachieving club with heft to a faster-lighter, counterpunching group. To that end, let’s hope JT Miller stays in the lineup.

        And returning to Torts, his ‘Nucks: in spite of GM Dave Nonis’s moves, if Vancouver gets the final nod in the West, they might become a nasty spoiler.

    • PAL says:

      And we don’t cringe during press conferences anymore, worrying that the Ranger coach is going to be a jerk.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        I found Torts’ pressers very entertaining. A jerk, sure, but he brought some levity to what is usually bland coach-speak.

        • Chris F says:

          Yea why would we cringe?

          I enjoyed Torts’ pressers. But even for those who didn’t, what did it matter? As a Rangers fan, does it really impact us even in the slightest when the Rangers coach upsets the delicate sensibilities of a beat writer? Nope.

  4. Gary says:

    Yeh, but it took a guy catching a ball with his head to get it done!

    Sorry, I am from Boston and only a Ranger fan by some weird freak of nature thing. 🙂

  5. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I can not figure out why MSL is so snake bitten on this team. Couple of games ago he couldn’t even score on an empty netter. I have to agree that St Louis is not so much lost, he simply has lost a ton of confidence.

    The 4th line was tremendous yet again. Boyle had a tough night on the face offs though yet still he was aggressive. Dorsett was smart and played a great game. Moore is so reliable.

    Diaz was sound yet again. He has a great vision and his passing ability is top notch. Defensively he has not been bad either.

    Klein reminds me of Sauer just less physical. (I miss me some Sauer.)

    Gotta love Zuccarello and Brassard. I would like Pouliot back on that line.

    Heard a rumor that Eric Staal to the Rangers soon. So the Rangers can keep Marc Staal here. Anyone have more info on that? I would prefer Eric Staal over Stastny if I had to choose.

    Biggest need for the Rangers are Right handed wingers and a number 1 center. McIlrath will solve the other problem. I really think Kyle Beach will be the perfect 4th liner with physicality and soft hands to fill the right wing role on the 4th line.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      The Eric Staal thing got mentioned on this site not too long ago. Bottom-line: doesn’t make sense based on the cap he brings ($8.2M! for the next two seasons) as well as what it will take to trade for him. It’s a pretty easy no on that one.

  6. Snake says:

    Spot on, Dave. It’s hard to roll a 4th line when you don’t have one. The difference between the last year’s team and this one can be defined by Boyle. He’s a great 4th line player, but when he has to play top 9 or top 6, he’s a liability.

    Torts got a ton of mileage out of the talent he had to work with. After he got some depth at the deadline, the team played well. I have nothing against AV, but IMO he has gotten less out of more.

  7. Snake says:

    Disagree. Before the recent win streak the Rangers played some gutless games. Part of that may be Cally’s absence, but it’s been a problem all season.

    AV doesn’t demand 100% and he doesn’t get it. The Rangers’ lack of consistency within games and from game to game has hurt the team all season. If the players know there are no repercussions from half hearted effort and sloppy play, that’s what you’ll get. There’s a reason Kessler and the Sedin bros didn’t shed any tears when AV got the ax. Players that put forth the effort every night expect the coach to demand the same from their teammates. AV does not.

    We’ll see how bad the Rangers want a title come playoff time. Hopefully they want it more then the Canucks did the past two seasons.

  8. Chris F says:

    And thus the NAsh-MSL experiment ends.

    I really don’t know what to do with St. Louis.

    • Walt says:

      Like I said earlier, MSL looks lost, and the thums down dip sticks went nuts. This will prove to be a very poor move when all is said and done!

  9. Ray says:

    I don’t think I saw the same game. The beginning of the game I saw wasn’t bad at all. The Flyers may have gotten more shots in the first period, but in the first 10-15 minutes, Lundqvist was untested. Any decent college goalie could have kept Philly scoreless. I think he had one tough chance toward the end of the period. Ironically, after the Rangers began controlling play, the Flyers spent much less time in the offensive zone but were far more menacing. Hank really earned his first star in the latter two periods with maybe a half dozen brilliant saves.

    I liked MSL. He didn’t produce anything, but there were a handful of Wow passes. He is creating opportunities that so far come to naught. And he is making life a little less comfortable for the other team.

    The last Ranger goal was a good illustration of a +/- flaw. The fourth line put it up on the board, but so much of the opportunity came from the work of Brassard (whom you mentioned) and Miller, who were no longer on the ice when the goal went in.

  10. Steven Cifuentes says:

    Not that it is a big deal…but didnt the last goal go in off a deflection? I thought Klien threw it at the net and Moore and Dman were in front and Moore deflected it.

    Mason still wants it back, I am sure.