Rangers response to Simmonds’ cheap shot couldn’t have been better

John Dundon

Dylan McIlrath fight 2-14

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers dominated the rival Philadelphia Flyers on Valentine’s Day in all facets of the game en route to a 3-1 win. Wayne Simmonds also bled, which was cool.

While much of the pregame banter was focused on the different shades of black and blue Dylan McIlrath could color Wayne Simmonds’ face, the Rangers leaders made it known that priority number one would be getting two points. But even Alain Vigneault made it clear after the game that he wasn’t disappointed in seeing Mcilrath challenge Simmonds when the time came. Kudos to Simmer for answering the bell and not prolonging the extra-curricular stuff any longer than it should’ve been. After a lengthy bout with Mcilrath, Simmonds skated off to the penalty box yelling at the MSG crowd.

Tanner Glass said pregame he wanted to set the tone by playing physically, as he usually does, and laid a big hit on Radko Gudas just after the Simmonds-Mcilrath bout. He was immediately challenged by Ryan White and they had a good rumble. It was a start that perfectly complimented the high emotions fans felt in the days leading up to the game. For the first time in a long time, the Rangers started off a game with two meaningful fights in the first couple of minutes that set the tone for the rest of the game and sent a message to the Flyers, and the rest of the league that there would be repercussions if you messed with a teammate.

It was a message that had to be sent according to many of the Rangers, including Henrik Lundqvist who was asked after the game by beat writers if a statement had to be made. “Yes” Lundqvist said with a smile on his face, “But the two points were the biggest thing tonight” he added.

The Rangers professionalism about this whole mess speaks volumes to the team’s veteran leadership and the fact that they are a really smart group of hockey players. This was not some sort of staged fourth line versus fourth line backyard brawl like the one the Blueshirts had with the New Jersey Devils back in 2012, these engagements had meaning behind them. Simmonds took a cheap shot against the team captain. Any response other than the one the Rangers gave would not have been appropriate.

So they boys did what they had to do. They took care of the monkey business early, got the “revenge” aspect out of the way so they could focus on what was really important, getting two points.

Then it was hockey time.

The Rangers were stout defensively and won more loose puck battles than the Flyers as they were clearly competing with a jump in their step. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding and if not for a garbage time goal would have shut out the divisional rival Flyers. Behind Derek Stepan’s two goal performance and a defensive effort which saw the Flyers record ZERO (!!) high quality scoring chances in the 58 or so minutes before Tanner Glass’s late third period penalty, the Rangers got their revenge where it counted most.

On this night, The Rangers wouldn’t be denied retribution through physical means, on the scoreboard and also in the standings, where the Rangers (70 points) and the Flyers (58 points) are trending in different directions.

For the Rangers, they will soon get a health Ryan Mcdonagh back into the lineup and continue their annual late season surge to the postseason. The Flyers, it’s looking more and more like they’ll miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season. I for one am just glad the boys won’t have to play a team that tries to hurt opposing players again this season.

Posted on February 15, 2016, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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