The New York Rangers had everything going at the midway point of the first period in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Philadelphia Flyers. After Jakub Voracek scored to cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1, the wheels fell off for New York. The Rangers were discombobulated, turning the puck over time after time en route to a 4-2 loss to the Flyers.
The Flyers’ physical play definitely got into the Rangers’ heads. After the penalties started to pick up, the Rangers’ puck possession style went away. The crisp, tape to tape passes we are used to seeing from the Rangers stopped and the offense suffered. They still managed to get 35 shots on Flyers goalie Ray Emery, but outside of a few shots, they were not high quality scoring chances.
High quality scoring chances were a problem, but turnovers were the bigger issue. The Rangers had trouble getting out of their own zone, constantly turning the puck over the hard Flyers’ forecheck. Anton Stralman was the main culprit of this turnover fest, struggling all day long with the puck on his stick.
With the Flyers being such a potent offensive team, the Rangers have to limit their turnovers. The best way to do that is to keep the puck on your stick and make tape to tape passes. If pucks are bouncing over your team’s sticks, then it means the opposition can come up the ice with speed and cause problems.
The Rangers dropped a crucial Game 2 and turnovers were the main reason why. Alain Vigneault has to stress to his team that they can’t turn the puck over against the Flyers’ high octane offense. If it continues, this series could get ugly very quickly.