Rangers take Game One over Flyers with dominating performance

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Rangers and Flyers met in the playoffs for the first time since 1997, and the Rangers drew first blood. New York scored three goals in the third period en route to their 4-1 win at MSG. Brad Richards had a fantastic night, notching a goal and two assists. Martin St. Louis had two assists. Carl Hagelin scored a goal and drew a four-minute high sticking penalty that the Rangers scored twice on. The fourth line did their thing, playing solid defense and stifling Claude Giroux and the high-powered Flyers offense.

Henrik Lundqvist was forced to make only 14 saves, with just one of those coming in the third period. The Rangers absolutely dominated the game, and Hank just had to sit back and make the saves when he had to. If the Rangers continue to play like this, it will be a short series.

On to the goals:

Flyers 1, Rangers 0

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Scott Hartnell laid a big hit on Ryan McDonagh behind the net, knocking him off the puck and giving Hartnell room to look for a play. Hartnell got the puck to Andrew MacDonald at the point, who’s slap shot beat Hank through the combined screens of Giroux, St. Louis, Anton Stralman, and Wayne Simmonds. Not much of a defensive breakdown on this one.

Rangers 1, Flyers 1

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The Rangers had a good cycle on this shift to generate some solid offensive opportunities. Marc Staal pinched on the near side to keep the zone, and Mats Zuccarello drifted back to cover the point. Benoit Pouliot collected the puck low and forced the play to the front of the net. Zucc was able to get a shot on net from the high slot that Emery stopped, but both Brayden Coburn and Sean Couturier let him go by to collect his own rebound for the tying goal.

Rangers 2, Flyers 1

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Derek Stepan gained the zone, and after some quick passing, moved the puck to Nash down low. Coburn went to cover Nash, but Michael Raffl didn’t pay attention to MSL creeping in from the point. Nash got the puck to MSL for a one-timer that was blocked by Kimmo Timonen, but the rebound went right to Richards at the weak side that he ripped over Emery for the goal. This was the first of two goals scored on the Jason Akeson double-minor for high sticking Hagelin.

Rangers 3, Flyers 1

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This goal, the second on the Akeson double-minor, was the product of superb puck movement. The Rangers got the Flyers running around, and no one picked up Stepan at the back door. Richards hit him with a beautiful pass, and Emery had no chance.

Rangers 4, Flyers 1

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Right after the Flyers hit the post, the Rangers came down the ice on a 3-on-3 rush. Brayden Schenn fell down as the Rangers gained the zone, forcing Coburn to cover both Hagelin and Jesper Fast as they cut to the net. Richards’ shot was stopped by Emery, but he left an awful rebound that Hagelin was able to tap into the empty net.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The Rangers dominated this game. They had a 61.9% Fenwick advantage at 5v5 and a 56.6% Fenwick advantage at 5v5 close situations. That’s pretty much what you want to see from your team that dominated puck possession throughout the season.

Win Expectancy Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Again, what you would expect from this game. Those two powerplay goals really put the Flyers away. Reminder that this chart is based on score, home ice, and time remaining.

The Rangers took the critical first game with a dominating performance, but need to build on this and put the Flyers away before they can make it a series. The longer that Steve Mason is out, the longer the Rangers have a significant advantage in net. While Mason is nowhere near Hank’s level, he is by far the better goalie over Emery. As long as Emery is in, the Rangers need to win.

28 Responses to “Rangers take Game One over Flyers with dominating performance”

  1. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Solid win yes dominating no.It was 1-1 with 10 mintues left and then a rookie mistake.Rangers PP looked dam good with excellent spacing,quick puck and player movement and 2 goals.They took the body at every chance.Speed,toughness and skill is a Motherfcker.The pressure still on the Rangers to hold serve at home.One down boys,just one down.Keep up the hard work solid win.

    • LFOD Bleeding Blue in NH says:

      I would call the shot differential and puck possession pretty damn dominating.

      • Spozo says:

        The Flyers also had 1 odd man rush the entire game.

      • Spozo says:

        The Post had an excellent stat in today’s paper. “Of the 35 faceoffs at either end of the ice, 29 were in the Flyers’ defensive zone. And if that number was skewed somewhat by a succession of New York third-period power plays, 21 of the first 26 were in the Philadelphia zone before Richards won the draw that triggered the sequence leading to the tie-breaking goal.”

    • I have to agree. The score is a little bit misleading. It’s hard to say (offensively) the Rangers dominated. They did hold the Flyers to less than 20 SOG and none to their best player Giroux. The Rangers pressured them for most of the 1st 40 mins but the Flyers had opportunities to swiftly take the lead in that game. Hank was good, I think that first goal went off MSL and went up top shelf through the screen of 3 players. That play was on Mac for coughing the puck up. I was wondering if he was ready after that play. He steadied himself and got back to the way he skates. The 1st PP goal was made by the quick & fairly clean zone entry. That left the Flyers looking worried and out of position as the Rangers rushed to set up. Lucky bounce to Richie but that is what happens when you get pucks to the net. Emery can’t hold a team in a series and 14 shots doesn’t win many games.
      It’s also obvious the Rangers took the time off to work at the PP more. Looked like it did in Jan-part of Feb.

  2. Gary says:

    I loved the Black & Blueshirts. Loved everything about them w/ the hard ass mentalities of Prust, Dubie, etc. But man, I like offense even more.

    Defense wins in the playoffs, right? Well, what makes this team so good potentially is the combination of O & D. Aggressive, swarming offense backed up by a mobile D, capable of getting back on the inevitable transitions.

    And then after all that there’s Hank waiting there. All Hank has to do is be the average Hank of the last 5 years (no need to stand on his head to King-like proportions) and I like this team’s chances to come out of the east.

    As I’ve posted before, they can beat the Bruins. This kind of sounds like a giddy comment after a PO win, but it’s how I’ve felt about this team since they started gelling mid-way thru the year. Something is cooking over there on Broadway and I am not sure we completely know what it is yet.

    Plus, these guys care. I’ll be surprised if they wilt like they did against the B’s last year.

    • I think it’s depth that is brewing in NY. it’s been brewing since right after that terrible NYI game we lost 5-3 or 5-2. I don’t remember but I do remember that late goal by Vanek unappossed. Since then AV & the players have been pulling the same rope. I don’t remember a tighter NYR team. A group of guys that care as much as every player does on this one. Even Carcillo who doesn’t play every game is all in. The Rangers can roll 4 lines out all night long and our 4th line had some shifts against the Giroux line in their zone. That is depth. This team is I’m sure coiled like a snake relishing another 7 game series against Boston. Thing is it may be Montreal that becomes the beast of the East. They’re a tough team. They are still not very physical with Prust as their grittiest player. They do have scoring depth and a wicked set of Defenseman that can take games over. Price ain’t bad either.

    • Fotiu is God says:

      I’m with you, Gary. Prust, Dubinsky, Mike Sauer, et al., Torts’ troops of past had an admirable identity and played with gusto. But this group has jump, creates, and plays a sound, if much more complex counterpunch game.

      As you said, Hank simply needs to be Hank, maybe even Hank/B+. Inasmuch I worry about McD’s health; of course, Hartnell tattooed him first shift.

      Plus Dan Girardi seemed to be gripping.

      I also don’t think it’s hyperbolic speaking about our chances with Boston. Detroit’s group of young forwards–Tatar, Nyqviust, Jurco, Riley Sheahan (the baby Mule)–will give create and stress Boston’s backline with their energy and smart down-low play.

      Watch Tatar fly. Detroit took out Anaheim last year. Don’t underestimate a Babcock led group.

      I also see Columbus giving The Pens hell. Yes!

  3. Walt says:

    It’s only one game, but one game that we won!

    The boys looked very good defensivly last night, and we had more than our share of opportunities to score. Filthadelphia looked slow in their zone, and they started getting frustrated. If we play it smart, keep our cool, let the terds in orange take the penalties, we win. Let’s take game two, and then watch how philly starts to play the dirty crap, falling into our trap!!

    We take game two, then they have to win 4 out of 5 against us, not an easy task. As a side note, you gotta love Zucc. There was a play where he was in their zone, the wistle blew, and Zucc had not one, but two of there goons pushing him around. I don’t know what he said, but I was laughing when I saw that!!!!!

  4. Mikeyyy says:

    Msl is better than I thought. Every time he touched the puck I was on my feet.

    How about the little zucc. Why did Vancouver let Av go?

    • Vancouver let AV go because after they made the finals they didn’t pass the 1st round the rest of his tenure and last year his team was swept in 4 by San Jose. Not the direction ownership wanted for a contending team. AV also moved off his all out offensive game and tried to create a defensive mentality for the playoffs. The BC PP went from top 10 for years to 23rd in the NHL. I wonder if he tried what he’s doing here in NY now but didn’t have the defensive minded players for that. The couldn’t score and the comedy show in net continued. That’s why AV was let go in BC. They felt when he tried to be tougher for a deep playoff run they fell apart. That’s also why I think they decided to bring in a drill Sargent like Torts. I think they’re still paying AV and have 4 years left on Torts deal. I don’t see how they can pay a 3rd coach. They should allow Torts to get the horses he needs to win that North/South dump n chase hockey. Keep the Sedins and Kessler but change the makeup of back end and bring in some defensive minded forwards. Maybe they grab Boyle when he prices himself out of NY. He isn’t getting 3rd line money here unless Brassard is traded. He could play 3rd line mins in Vancouver. Torts leaned on him for most Dzone draws.

  5. Paul says:

    That was a great way to open the series! Rangers were dominant and the power play really stepped it up! I think where the Flyers really fall short is individual discipline… As long as the Rangers do not engage or indulge the Flyers too much after the whistle, the Flyers will do themselves in. It’s as if their efforts to get under our skin and frustrate us end up frustrating them more if they can’t provoke a response or draw us into taking bad penalties.

    Can’t wait for Sunday. Lets Go Rangers!!!

    • Their discepline is part of their bad defensive coverage. They make mistakes and take stupid penalties. It’s been the mantra in Philly even through the Laviolette years. The Rangers never had the PP to make em pay so the games were always real nasty. It was chippy to begin with but they had to respect our PP. I’d expect more of the same from them but I don’t see the Flyers making it easy on us. Need more even strength scoring at some point and if the PP operated at about 30%. We’d be tough to beat.

      • Paul says:

        Good points Puck Luck. A big part of the Flyers team identity has always (or as long as I’ve watched hockey) been a chippy style of play. I certainly do not believe it will be an easy series by any means. But if the Rangers stay out of the unnecessary scrums, the Flyers will continue to take bad penalties- which will make it *easier for us.

        And if we do get an uptick in even strength scoring, which i think most of us believe will happen, this series could very well be over sooner rather than later!

        • I totally agree. That game 1 could easily been 3-1 after 2 and a much more comfortable seat for the fans in the 3rd. Winning the 3rd period is never a bad thing. Only think I want is an early series goal (or two) from Nash. Would like to see him get that out of the way sooner than later so he can build some confidence in these playoffs. He had some good chances and plenty of shots but didn’t connect with twine. When he gets one that Minnie break he had where he slid the puck just wide far side will start going in for him. He looked good I just want a goal & a little bit of emotion from him. You get it from him when he scores or a teammate bangs in a big one. He’d be much more effective playing like that for 60 mins. Drive to the net and throw a puch when you get tripped for no reason. Even if he gets 2 it brings the entire team out of its seat. I also wonder if captain ship may bring more from him like in CBJ!

  6. PAL says:

    I feel more confident about this team than any of the Torts playoff teams; I loved Torts, but his teams always made me feel like every series was going to take 7 games.

    We need to beat the Flyers in 5 or less, because there are going to be a lot of nasty stick bruises and sore bodies that will need to heal before the next series. It looked like Nash got hit very hard several times; on Richards’ goal, it appears that he was very slow to get up after being slammed after his back-pass to St. Louis.

    My wife took over the TV for the second period last night, so I listened to the Flyers radio feed; they were very fair, and critical of how much time the Flyers were letting the Rangers play in their own zone. Weirdly, the play-by-play guy seemed to pronounce the “v” in Lundqvist.

    • Scully says:

      Took over the TV during the NHL playoffs!?!?!?!?

      Hope you have a prenup :D.

      #joking

      • PAL says:

        I was going to say something like “That’s ok, I pulled a Flyer and high sticked her after the game”, but no matter how I rephrase it, it always sounds dirty.

  7. Scully says:

    Hey Guys! Haven’t commented in a while, but I’ve been lurking in the wings reading articles and other comments :D.

    When the Rangers play this style of game, against an inferior defense like the Flyers have, they’re pretty much unbeatable. The amount of skill and speed on this team is ELITE right now.

    St. Louis, Hagelin, Zucc, Nash, Dorsett, Brassard, Kreider (when healthy), Fast, etc… are all above average to top percentile speedsters. The Flyers D looked sluggish, and their offense looked content to run and gun, which is exactly what I want them to do as a Rangers fan. When the Rangers go north to south very quickly they’re very very tough to handle.

    Also, Boyle stepped up his intensity level BIG TIME last night… did so many good things. That whole 4th line is something we were missing the last two seasons.

    The Flyers will come out in game 2 looking to do their usual BS. If the Rangers stay within themselves, draw penalties, and make the Flyers pay, the Flyers will be running thing on game plan options.

    I don’t even think the Rangers played their best last night btw. They didn’t really attack from the inside until the 3rd period.

  8. Rockdog says:

    Great game. I have to call out Brassard’s work in front on the net on the first goal as a key play. Just one of the little things that helps a team win playoff games.

    • Chris. C says:

      I’d call out that whole line. There a true 1st line on any team. They just out work everyone on the ice game after game. They all need contracts.

  9. Justin says:

    Wow, Scully and Rockdog sightings in the comments. Don’t be shy, boys, we miss you around here.

  10. Leatherneckinlv says:

    It truly was a classy win…At the end of the game, Rangers on the poweplay AV plays the 4th line. That was a classy move. How does Phily repay that? With a late hit by Schenn…at the end of the game. I think we even out coached them. Philly has nothing to rally around….and VA can say…boys we did our part in sportsmanship…look at Schenn boys…Do I need to say anything else boys? Go bait them…get the powerplays and send them packing for Golf

  11. paulronty says:

    I will continue to be the lone dissenting voice on here about buying out Brad Richards & last night perfectly exemplified why. Richards is smart, he plays a cerebral game, he offers intangibles you are never going to get from Stasny & he is not Methusellah like it is often implied on here. He has a lot left in the tank yet and I don’t see any problem with him playing till he’s 40. MSL is 38 already and he looks like he’s got a lot left too. These guys will be OK if they continue to keep in peak shape during the summer. Jagr is doing just fine at 43 and Richards will too. No amnesty buyout, F#2# the cap hit! There are a lot of good young guys(low cost) on the farm who will be coming up over the next year. No Ott, no Stasny, forget the UFAs. What we need we already got. Speed kills!

    • Walt says:

      What???????

      Are you saying that BR belongs in the leauge as Jagr?

      Whatevere it is that your smoking, I want some!! Please, BR is playing for 2 things, a cup, and a new contract for next year. He will get some dip stick GM to give him a few million a year, but we shouldn’t keep him!! We need to re-sign the entire Brass line as mentioned by Harlemblues!!!!!!!!

      Look at what philly did with Vinny, and where was he last night. Mind you, Vinny is even younger that BR.

  12. HARLEMBLUES says:

    You can’t keep BR at 6million+ for what the next five years.Zuccarello,Brassard and Pouliot combined made less than BR this year.Can’t continue to keep bad contacts on the books.SUPERSTAR MONEY ONLY TO SUPERSTARS PERIOD.