Breaking Down What New York Rangers Did Right in Game 1 vs. Philadelphia Flyers
The New York Rangers continued their dominance of the Philadelphia Flyers with a 4-1 victory on Thursday night, taking a decisive 1-0 lead in the series. The game lived up to the hype, and it had many memorable moments, but the third period was where the Blueshirts left their mark.
The Rangers scored three unanswered goals in the last period, and they completely shut down the Flyers. There were a number of different things the Rangers did right, and here's a look at the areas in which the Blueshirts really executed their game plan.
Rangers' Defense Stifled Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek
If the Flyers want to have a chance in this series, forwards Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are going to need to make themselves known. In Game 1, Giroux and Voracek failed to register a shot, and both were very ineffective. The Blueshirts' defense did a good job pressuring the pair, and they also got physical with the Flyers' top two forwards.
Philadelphia has multiple 20-goal scorers, but Giroux and Voracek are the team's best creative forwards, and if they can't create offense, the Flyers won't score goals.
Rangers Remained Disciplined
During Game 1, the Flyers tried to start their usual physical shenanigans. The Rangers would choose not to engage, and that resulted in numerous power plays. By no means did the Blueshirts back down from the Flyers, but instead they played within the whistles.
The Rangers also avoided taking bad penalties, something that ended up costing the Flyers Game 1.
The officiating crew did a good job establishing a tone for the series, and it will be interesting to see if the Flyers change their game plan for Game 2 on Sunday.
And They Took Advantage When Philadelphia Didn't
The Rangers' power play in Game 1 was phenomenal, and it was almost like Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis entered a time machine before the game. During a crucial four-minute power play, the Rangers scored a pair of goals, and Richards and St. Louis both picked up a pair of points during that time span.
The veterans looked like they were 10 years younger and playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning during their Stanley Cup run in 2004. Fans have had a love-hate relationship with Richards and St. Louis for a variety of reasons, but they lived up to their reputation of being big-time playoff players.
Other players such as Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello were also crucial on the man advantage, and it was encouraging to see the team's top players perform in a key part of the game.
Rangers Limited Flyers to 15 Shots
The Rangers' defense was spectacular on Thursday, and the Blueshirts did a great job pressuring the Flyers and tying up their sticks. In the first period, the Flyers were limited to six shots, in the second they took eight shots, and in the third they only put one shot on goal.
The Flyers' offense looked very disjointed in Game 1, partly due to the team's inability to gain momentum. During the postgame show on NBC Sports, analyst Keith Jones noted that in each period the Flyers' first shot of the period came around the 7:00 or 8:00 minute mark, and that can't happen in the playoffs.
If the Flyers are going to spend 21 minutes of the game coasting and not registering a shot, they are going to be out of the series sooner than predicted.