Rangers drop third straight, blanked by Flyers at home

Alexandra Russo

rangers vs flyers 11-28

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

After two pretty disappointing effort against the Canadiens and Bruins, the Rangers (16-6-2) continued their losing streak to three straight with a 3-0 loss at the Garden with Raanta in net. It was the second meeting of these teams. The Flyers took the 3-2 win in the last game in a shootout in Philadelphia and have now gone 2-0-0 on the season. They broke an eleven game losing streak at the Garden with the win.

In Friday’s matchup against Boston, Derek Stepan took a hard hit, and two of his ribs were broken. He is out indefinitely as of right now. Coach Vigneault’s decision was to give Hayes a chance at center in Stepan’s absence, with Kreider on the left and Etem on the right.

A bitter rivalry between the Rangers and Flyers reared its head in Saturday’s contest. The fighting started early when McIlrath dropped the gloves with Luke Schenn early in the period. But the physicality didn’t stop there. The Rangers, who aren’t a very physical team, recorded 15 hits in the first period alone to the Flyers’ 11.

The Blueshirts had the first power play of the game on an instigating call on Peter Schenn, which was served by Braden Schenn. The power play unit looked different without Stepan, and it wasn’t as effective as the previous four games where the Rangers scored once in each.

The best chance for the Rangers to take the lead was on a late rush started by Viktor Stalberg. Stalberg made a great pass to Dominic Moore from right circle, but Mason denied him the goal, poke-checking the puck away from Moore’s stick as he drove hard to the net.

The Flyers only had four shots on goal in the period, courtesy of the Rangers’ tight defensive play.

The second power play for the home team looked better, as they were able to sustain better offensive pressure but they weren’t able to convert and recorded only a few shots on goal.

The second period started with the Rangers finishing off their second power play, but it was the Flyers with the tough forechecking that tested Raanta early. Couturier led the rush for his team, Read trailing just behind him. They hounded Raanta with a series of shots that he blocked away to keep the game scoreless.

antti raanta save 11-28

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Flyers didn’t stop there, though. 12:24 into the second period, Kevin Klein took a shot that was blocked by Read, and he made a poor defensive play by not getting back in time to stop the pass to Simmonds. Simmonds finished off the opportunity to put his team in front by a goal.

That doesn’t take away from Raanta’s stellar play, though. He stopped sixteen of seventeen shots in the second period alone due to the Rangers’ lacking defense. They allowed the Flyers an abundance of opportunities throughout the period and had few themselves.

Mason had a pretty easy period, saving the whopping seven shots that he faced. Many of the Rangers’ chances weren’t even quality scoring chances, as they were kept to the outside of the zone with the few shots they actually recorded on net.

Scott Arniel said in between periods that “The Flyers are working harder than us right now.” And he couldn’t have said it better. Down by one, the Rangers had to find the will to overcome the deficit.

But it was Couturier early in the third period who poked the puck between Raanta’s pads, putting his team up by a pair. Simmonds received his second point of the afternoon on Couturier’s goal.

McIlrath took a penalty towards the middle of the period, and while in front, Jesper Fast got hurt but was back on the bench in no time, testimony to the strong player he is.

Stoll compounded that penalty with another, forcing the Rangers to kill a 5 on 3 penalty for a little over a minute, and they did. The penalty kill has been struggling as of late, but this game was much better.

Wayne Simmonds put away the win for his team with an empty-net goal with 50 seconds left in play, and Raanta received his first career loss in regulation. However, this loss was not his fault in the least. He played an excellent game and stopped 32 of 34 shots he faced. It was the team in front of him that let him down in this one.

Overall the Rangers haven’t been playing their best hockey in a while, or as some like to call it- “Rangers’ Hockey.” This game, like the previous two, lacked forechecking, and the Rangers weren’t able to generate any sustained offensive pressure. Not to mention the defense needs some work. Raanta was the only reason the score wasn’t higher than 3-0. If the Blueshirts intend to keep their record at one of the best in the NHL, then they will have to work harder to improve their play. With Stepan’s injury, it might be hard, but have faith that Alain Vigneault and the Rangers have been through this before and have the experience to figure it out and work through it.

Their next game is at home against the Hurricanes, and they look to rebound after a stretch of bad hockey.

Three Stars

  1. Wayne Simmonds
  2. Steve Mason
  3. Antti Raanta


Posted on November 29, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: