New York Rangers: Rapid Reaction to Rangers Versus Flyers

Joe MaloneyContributor IIIApril 3, 2012

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 14:  Ryan Callahan #24 and Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers celebrate the win over the Boston Bruins on February 14, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The New York Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins 3-0.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night to clinch the East Conference No. 1 seed. 

The final score, however, does not tell the story of this game. The Rangers dominated play in the first period, opening up a four-goal lead with goals by Ryan McDonagh (seven), Brian Boyle (10), Artem Anisimov (15) and Ryan Callahan (29). Both Anisimov and Callahan's goals were on the power play, which is a good sign for the Rangers.

The first period was littered with nine penalties, including four fighting majors. Brandon Prust defended Marian Gaborik and took on Flyers tough guy Zac Rinaldo. Winner: Prust. The second bout saw Mike Rupp take on former Ranger Jody Shelley, whom Rangers fans may remember not for anything he did on the ice, but for his critical comments of Brandon Dubinsky earlier in the season. Winner: Shelley. 

The physical battle continued in the second period, with both teams matching hits. Eight minutes into the second, the Flyers finally broke through Henrik Lundqvist off a Jakub Voracek shot that went in off of Marc Staal's skate. The rough play continued with the Flyers repeatedly targeting Ryan Callahan with slashes and body checks in an attempt to rattle him. As we have seen with Callahan throughout the season, however, the captain remained composed and focused. 

With less than a minute remaining in the second period, Marian Gaborik flashed his quick hands for a goal for the 41st time this season off a pass from Anton Stralman. This gave the Rangers a 5-1 lead, until Wayne Simmonds found a way to respond off a Claude Giroux rebound with seven seconds remaining in the period. 

The third period saw an uncharacteristically undisciplined Rangers squad. The Rangers took four penalties including a "too many men," frustrating coach John Tortorella. The penalty kill was sharp, stymieing the Flyers power play. Ten minutes into the final period, Scott Hartnell put away his 37th of the season, but that was as close as it would get. 

The Rangers clearly have Henrik Lundqvist to thank for the win Tuesday night. Despite Dan Girardi wearing the Broadway Hat, the King was very deserving. Lundqvist looked sharped in net with 37 saves, including numerous shots from high-percentage areas.

The Positives:

  • The power play went three of six versus Philly, with points from nine different players. 
  • The penalty kill gave up just one goal on eight Flyer power plays
  • Henrik Lundqvist was Henrik Lundqvist. Enough said.
  • The offense saw goals by five different players and looked sharp in its chances.
  • Ryan McDonagh found offensive rhythm by stepping up in the play and burying a Gaborik pass.

The Negatives:

  • Penalties. The Rangers took 11 penalties in the game, eight which were especially unnecessary.
  • Face-offs. The Rangers did a decent job winning greater than 50 percent of their face-offs, but this will need to improve come next week with the caliber of their talent.

Up next: The Rangers continue their tough final week against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday at the CONSOL Energy Center.