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Lundqvist, Zuccarello stellar as the Rangers defeat the Flyers at MSG

Bobby Bevilacqua

derick brassard hi five line 2-14

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (32-18-6) exacted the type of revenged they promised after Wayne Simmonds concussed Ryan McDonagh eight days ago, coming away with a great 3-1 win over the rival Philadelphia Flyers (24-21-10) on home ice, continuing their incredible success at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers have a 10 game point streak at home (8-0-2), with points in 11 of the last 12 games at the Garden. They have a 20-4-2 record in their last 26 games at Madison Square Garden, and they lead the NHL in wins (nine) and points (19) since January 16th.

The first period started exactly how we all expected it would; with a fight. Dylan McIlrath and Wayne Simmonds were talking during warmups, and they dropped the gloves just 39 seconds into the game. It was a good fight, both guys got in some solid punches and headed to the penalty box.

Twenty seconds later, Tanner Glass and Ryan White also went at it. Glass laid a few big hits on Flyers’ defenseman Radko Gudas and White came to his aide. The first minute of the game was good for the Rangers; they set the tone physically and then wound up setting the tone offensively.

At 5:08 of the first period, the Rangers got on the board first. Derick Brassard took the puck deep into the Flyers zone, and went around the back of the net before quickly sending a wraparound chance on net, squeaking past Mason’s outstretched skate and the post for his 19th goal of the season. That tied his career high set last season, and the assists went to Keith Yandle and Dan Girardi.

Later in the period, Mats Zuccarello was sent to the box for high sticking, a double minor. The Flyers started out their power play with a 1:56 continual offensive zone shift, and Henrik Lundqvist was fantastic during this sequence. The last two minutes of the penalty was flawless penalty killing, and the Rangers shifted momentum back in their favor.

Steve Mason was sharp in the first period, continuing his good play against the Rangers. He made a number of great saves, particularly with his pads. He denied Derek Stepan on a redirection early in the period, and made this fantastic save on a Brassard one-timer with his right pad.

After one period, the Rangers held the one goal lead and the shots on goal were tied at nine. Overall, it was a pretty even period.

The second period started out well for the Rangers. They immediately continued to carry over the pressure from the first period, getting the first five shots on goal through 4:15 of play. Kevin Klein had the best early chance, getting two shots on a 3v2 rush up the ice.

Klein had another fantastic chance in the period, joining the rush again and getting on the end of an excellent feed from Brassard. He got his stick on the puck, but sent it just wide of the open net as he was being backchecked.

The Flyers didn’t have many offensive chances, registering just six shots on goal to the Rangers 12, but they nearly scored as well. Luke Schenn sent a puck on net, and he didn’t get all of it. The speed of the shot and the screen in front of Henrik forced him to pick it up late, and it went off of the post. The Ranger were up in shots, 21-15, after two periods.

Mason continued his solid play in the third period, making two great saves within the first five minutes. He made a great stop on Jesper Fast’s one-timer from about 13 feet away, and didn’t allow a rebound. A few minutes later, Yandle sent a shot from the point through traffic, and Mason managed to fight that off with a pad. The Flyers didn’t have a lot of pressure, recording their first shot on goal around the 7:40 mark.

Just over halfway through the period, the Rangers got the insurance goal they worked very hard for. Mats Zuccarello made a fantastic play to get the loose puck and made a fantastic, no-look backhanded pass to Stepan. He was wide open, with all of the Flyers skaters fooled by Zucc’s play, and he converted on the slam dunk for his 100th career NHL goal.

Mats Zuccarello wasn’t done working his magic, setting up Stepan again on the power play just 3:20 later. Kreider drew a tripping penalty, and it took the Rangers just 12 seconds to convert. Zuccarello sent a fantastic one touch pass to Step, and he roofed it before Mason could get into position. It was his second goal of the game and his 12th of the season.

The Flyers pulled Steve Mason with 4:15 to go in the period, and got a power play with 1:42 to go. Lundqvist was under siege for those four minutes, making some spectacular saves. With just seconds to go, Lundqvist made an amazing blocker save on Schenn’s deflection, made another pad save on Schenn later on, but the Flyers unfortunately ended his shutout bid with just 9.7 seconds to go, as Brayden Schenn scored his 16th goal of the season.

Nevertheless, it was a fantastic offensive performance from the Rangers, where they largely dominated for most of the game and came away with their fifth win in the last six games. New York is 8-2-1 in the last 11 games.

Keith Yandle played 22:07 tonight and collected yet another assist, giving him 31 (4-27-31) points this season. He has a three game point streak and continues to play at an extremely high level in the absence of Ryan McDonagh. He also finished as a +10 in Corsi For, continuing to play well in the possession game as well.

Mats Zuccarello showed off his amazing passing skills tonight, setting up Derek Stepan for two goals. The line of Stepan, Kreider and Zuccarello is really clicking and creating a lot of chances. Stepan seems to be starting to play much more consistently.

The Rangers have two days off before playing the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at 8 PM.

THREE STARS

1) Mats Zuccarello – 2 A, 18:07 TOT

2) Derek Stepan – 2 G, 6 SOG, 19:14 TOT

3) Henrik Lundqvist – 21 SV, .955 SV%

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Posted on February 15, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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