The New York Rangers hit the ground running in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a convincing 4-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night. It was Philly’s ninth consecutive loss at Madison Square Garden. The Flyers scored on their first shot of the game, but could only muster up 14 for the rest of the game, all of which were stopped by New York’s goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Philadelphia’s captain Claude Giroux is the catalyst of the team, but he was a non-factor in Game 1. The Rangers countered the Giroux line with their fourth line of Derrek Dorsett, Dominic Moore and Brian Boyle. The trio was extremely effective against Philly’s top line of Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek and Giroux. They checked the Flyers whenever possible and even spent chunks of time pinning Giroux and company in their defensive zone. Pressure is the main strategy for New York’s fourth line, and they were making Philly play their game.
Giroux finished the game with zero shots. In fact, the only noticeable thing he did in the third period was take a slashing penalty shortly after the Rangers scored two quick power play goals to take a 3-1 lead.
Let’s put Giroux’s zero shots in perspective, shall we? In his 82 regular season games, Giroux had at least one shot on goal in all but four games. Two of those were against New York. Add in Game 1 and Giroux has zero shots in his last three games against the blue shirts. The Flyers captain is also in the middle of a scoring drought against his bitter rivals. It’s been 11 games since Giroux’s last goal against New York, and it came over two years ago on Feb. 11 2012.
The Flyers look to regroup and steal Game 2 in New York, where they haven’t won a game in over three years. In Giroux’s case, he needs to worry about getting a shot on goal first before he can break his scoreless streak against the Rangers. Game 2 is set for Noon on Easter Sunday at MSG.