Rangers 5, Flyers 2.
I’m pretty swamped at work today, so this will have to be brief. HAV.
1. Lundqvist was phenomenal. This was a vintage performance, with perhaps only the second Flyers’ goal as something he would like to have back. He was the difference all game long, starting first with the save on Simmonds’ breakaway (which should have resulted in a penalty shot rather than a penalty), and continuing on some of the saves he made on the penalty kill. I’m sure the Rangers and Lundqvist wish that all of their games were played in Philadelphia, as far and away his two best games of the season were both played there.
2. AV reunited Miller-Hayes-Grabner and it paid enormous dividends. I honestly don’t know why this unit was ever separated. They have chemistry together. Good to see both Hayes and Grabner score important goals.
3. McDonagh at times was trying to do too much, but I thought he and Skjei were actually pretty good together. Reading the comments last night, I know I’m in the minority on this. But Skjei had a really good game, in particular. On the first goal, he’s being pressured by two Flyers and maintained calm, kept possession, and found the right pass to Grabner, who touched it to the middle for Hayes to break away and score. If that’s Staal, Girardi, Klein, or even Holden, that puck would have been turned over a long time before that. I thought the other pairs were fine, but I remain unconvinced that Clendening is an NHL caliber player. From what I’ve seen, he’s a poor man’s Diaz.
4. Faceoffs were a big issue, especially later in the game. We couldn’t win one to save our lives and Voracek scored off of one of those draws.
5. Mason is not a good goaltender. Not much more needs to be said there.
6. Good on NBCSN for showing the scrums as they happened, even holding off from going to commercial until one was finished. Wicky must have loved it. At one point, Giroux was facewashing Hayes after the whistle. There was No Response from No Doritos. Wicky must have hated it.
7. Fast makes a great play on the penalty kill to spring himself for a breakaway that became a 2 on 1 that became a completely wasted opportunity.
7. We were being soundly outplayed through the second half of the first period to the middle of the second. Hayes’ goal was scored against the run of play. It wasn’t until the final 7 minutes or so of the second period that we got back into the game. We came out pretty strongly in the third and Kreider was rewarded for it. What plays by all three forwards on that goal. Zuccarello’s flip fell perfectly at Stepan’s feet. Stepan did a wonderful job to control it and then made a beautiful saucer pass to Kreider. And Kreider made an excellent play after he overskated the puck to still get the shot off through his legs.
8. On the third goal, it was a Del Zaster. He and Gudas just caught chasing everyone with the puck, leaving Grabner alone without it and next to the goal for the easy tap in.
9. At that point, most players on both teams kind of stopped playing since the outcome appeared academic, leading to some sloppy play and a few more goals. Voracek’s first was just an unlucky bounce for McDonagh on what was actually a decent kill. The Rangers were keeping the puck totally around the outside before Voracek put it in off of McDonagh’s skate.
10. So with Philadelphia now back in the game, they pressed, Gostisbehere went in deep with Schenn on a 3 on 2 and got caught below the goal line as Miller chipped the puck past former greatest player in the world Claude Giroux, who was totally flatfooted at the point, to spring Hayes and Grabner for a 2 on 1. Hayes kept it and blew it past Mason, who was cheating towards Grabner.
11. I know some people hate the goal reviews for offside, but I’m OK with it. If the guy was offside, he was offside. It’s black and white. Many other goal review calls involve a judgment call. Did that constitute goaltender interference, was that kicked, was it batted with a glove, etc. Give me a black and white rule any day over that type of judgment call.
12. As I mentioned above, the Rangers lose a faceoff and it comes across quickly to Voracek who one times it above the glove. I guess this is also a bit of classic Lundqvist, where his glove sometimes is a little suspect.
13. But any drama in the finish was quickly snuffed out when Provorov couldn’t handle the offensive draw win, leading to an easy ENG for Grabner.
14. I was surprised it was John Forslund instead of Doc Emrick with the play by play. I think I saw somewhere that Dock was sick. Early on Forslund mentioned Holden was a former Avalanche, and he also was quick to mention that Kreider had the hat trick in Colorado. I was betting he was the Avalanche announcer, but no, he’s actually the longtime voice of the Hurricanes. He wasn’t terrible. Even Pierre was milder than usual. Sometimes, though, Pierre asks Eddie a question about training or how to play and you can just hear the disgust with Pierre in Eddie’s response, which is usually preceded by a brief pause in which you can hear him thinking “Really, Pierre? What a stupid question.”
15. I didn’t mention Simmonds much, but boy do I love him as a player.
16. The fourth line was pretty good, but Pirri has been a zero for a while now.
My Three Rangers’ Stars:
- Henrik Lundqvist
- Kevin Hayes
- Michael Grabner
Your Three Rangers’ Stars:
- Henrik Lundqvist
- Kevin Hayes
- Michael Grabner