The New York Rangers faced a crucial three-game road trip traveling to the Philadelphia Flyers to take on their old nemesis. With only three points in their last seven games, it is safe to say that Tuesday was a must-win scenario in order to control their destiny for a playoff spot.
Currently, the Rangers hold the eighth spot in the NHL Eastern Conference with 35 points after their 5-2 win against the Flyers this evening. They received heroic efforts from Rick Nash (two goals, one assist) and Derek Stepan (one goal, three assists) who seemed to control the tempo and allow for creativity in front of the net.
The Rangers even received some better effort from Brad Richards, who was efficient with his passes and converted a chance from Stepan into his first goal in what seems all year. It was actually his third goal in the past 25 games, which is a travesty considering the caliber of player Richards should be in the NHL.
The hustle that the Rangers showed along the boards after the first period and crispness of the offense is not what fans have come to see night after night.
The biggest surprise was that the Rangers seemed to score with ease. Tuesday was a complete team effort that fans can only hope will be extended to the rest of their road trip against the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens.
The Rangers came into the game last in their conference scoring 2.26 goals per game. Those are dismal scoring numbers from a team that has Nash, Marian Gaborik, Richards and Carl Hagelin, not to mention youngsters like Chris Kreider, who has as good a shot as any in the league.
The Flyers got this game to 3-2 in the third before the Rangers finally put it away with two more goals to extend the lead. In the past, this would have been a game that went to overtime as the Rangers would have sat on the lead. They bounced back however, and did not allow the momentum to fully shift in the Flyers direction.
A solid effort at this stage of a shortened season will go a long way towards building confidence and setting the Rangers straight as they prepare for what they hope to be a long playoff run.
“Rant” your thoughts below on the Rangers win tonight, and if you thought they might lose another game after allowing the two goals late to the Flyers.