The game looked so promising for the New York Rangers at the start. Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers took two dumb penalties back to back, and the Rangers had two early power play opportunities. While the Rangers were able to get a good amount of shots and put pressure on the Flyers’ penalty killers during both power plays, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason stood tall and stopped everything the Rangers threw at him.
Almost immediately after the second Rangers power play expired, the Flyers scored and then scored again. The Flyers’ ability to kill off both Rangers power plays and then answer back with two quick goals was the turning point of this game. They say you cannot win a game in the first period, but you sure can lose it; that is what the Rangers did this afternoon.
Granted, the Rangers did come back and tie the game at two before the Flyers tacked on two more goals and won 4-2; but if you want to know where the Rangers lost this game, it was in the first period. The Rangers allowing the Flyers to drive to the net uncontested led to this loss.
The Rangers played despicably throughout most of the game. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was not himself, Ryan Callahan was completely invisible (obviously lobbying for that contract extension), and Derek Stepan continues to have the worst season in his young career.
This Rangers loss, and Flyers win, now puts the Flyers only one point behind the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division. With the trade deadline coming up on Wednesday, the Rangers must make some moves, including dealing their captain Callahan in order to improve this Rangers team this season and in the future. If they do not, the Rangers’ 2013-14 NHL season will end one of two ways: either the Rangers will miss the playoffs completely, or they’ll make the playoffs but get eliminated in the first round.
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