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McDonagh hurt as Rangers mount late comeback to take down the Flyers

Alexandra Russo

Rangers vs Flyers 2-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With 30 games left in the regular season, the playoff race is getting tight, and the Rangers (29-18-5) know how important these remaining games are. Rick Nash was still out of the lineup with a bone bruise, but Kevin Klein returned after missing the previous game with a fractured thumb. After a wild back-and-forth contest, the Rangers came away with a 3-2 shootout win on the road.

The rivalry was felt in the early stages of the game as both teams traded chances. Stepan had a takeaway at the blueline, but his pass was stolen, and the Flyers came down the ice. Mark Streit skated in on Lundqvist, but he shot it wide.  

Mats Zuccarello lifted a pass to Chris Kreider, who gloved it down and skated in on a breakaway over the Flyers’ blueline. He made a few moves around Mason, but just skimmed the outside of the post on his backhand.

The intensity was kicked up a notch halfway through the first period. Ryan McDonagh and Wayne Simmonds were going after each other, and Simmonds hit the Rangers captain on the chin with a sucker punch, sending him to the ice. Simmonds received a match penalty and a game misconduct, and McDonagh was assessed a high sticking and cross checking penalty. He went to the locker room and did not return.

That gave the Rangers a one minute power play and they did not score. They had one good look, but that was it. If they want to improve, they’ll need to keep the puck moving and make faster passes.

Jakub Voracek flew out of the penalty box for a breakaway but was robbed by a sprawling Lundqvist. The puck came back out of the corner, and Lundqvist was out of place, but the Flyers shot the puck wide, missing an empty net opportunity.

With a little over two minutes left in the second period, Viktor Stalberg got called for tripping. The Blueshirts had a great penalty kill and were even able to waste some time by forechecking.

The second period started out with the Rangers in the penalty box yet again. However, contrary to previous games, the Blueshirts’ penalty killing was effective at first.

The Flyers continued to put on the pressure. They had numerous odd-man rushes and proceeded to force the Rangers into another penalty.

A penalty on Dominic Moore cost the Rangers as they went down by a goal. Shane Gotisbehere fired a shot from the point through a screen and past Lundqvist. The defensive coverage was terrible here on the penalty kill. Tanner Glass didn’t pressure Gotisbehere and allowed an uncontested shot, Dan Girardi vacated his position in front of the net, Daniel Paille bought the fake pass, and two guys were left wide open in front of the net. The same problems continue to occur over and over again.

The Flyers received yet another power play, but the Rangers evened it out as Stepan was hooked from behind.

The Rangers’ second power play of the game didn’t look much better, even though it was only a minute and fifteen seconds. They were unable to convert and remained at a deficit heading into the third period.

The Rangers were dominated in the second period, giving up 20 shots on goal in that period alone, and a total of 56 shot attempts through 40 minutes. Henrik Lundqvist was a big reason why the Rangers were still in the game.

Alain Vigneault decided to switch up some lines to start the final period. And boy did it help. Chris Kreider opened up the Ranger scoring with an expert deflection, sending the puck over Steve Mason and into the net. It was Dan Girardi’s shot and Zuccarello picked up the secondary helper.

The Flyers, though, regained the lead thanks to Ryan White. He sent a shot over the stick of Dan Boyle, who was effectively screening Lundqvist, and White beat Henrik short side. It wasn’t exactly a rifle of a shot, and the Rangers’ netminder probably wanted that one back.

The Rangers continued the offensive pressure for the next few minutes and had numerous shots on goal and shot attempts. All their hard work was rewarded when with 12.9 seconds left the game, Keith Yandle tied it up with a hard slap shot that eluded Mason. The Rangers had tied the game for the second time.

The teams were set for three on three overtime hockey, which is perhaps the most exciting thing of this regular season. The Rangers had the most chances of the overtime and found themselves headed to a shootout against the Flyers for the third time this season.

The Flyers shot first but missed the net. Zuccarello was up next, and he slid the luck last Mason to give his team the edge. Lundqvist shut down Giroux, but it was Derek Stepan with the shootout goal that put the game away for the Blueshirts.

The Rangers are back in action Monday night against the Devils at the Garden. Don’t miss the action!

THREE STARS

1) Keith Yandle – 1 G, 4 SOG, +12 CF, 27:33 TOT

2) Chris Kreider – 1 G, +2, 3 SOG, 17:38 TOT

3) Henrik Lundqvist – 26 SVS, .929 SV%

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Posted on February 6, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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