Tonight, the New York Rangers faced off against the Philadelphia Flyers in a game with serious playoff implications. The Rangers went into the game needing a win here in order to make the playoffs. With a lot on the line, the Rangers and Flyers fought hard for a chance to make the playoffs.
Zac Jones Makes His Rangers Debut
The biggest story in this game was the NHL debut of defenseman Zac Jones. The former Richmond General and UMass defenseman replaced the injured Jacob Trouba, who was out with an upper body injury. Jones is a great puck moving defenseman who will make a huge impact on this Rangers roster in the future.
Igor Shesterkin got the start in net tonight, looking to bounce back from a bad performance against the Islanders. Another big line change was the moving of Alexis Lafreniére to the first line. He would take Chris Kreider‘s place, who moved down to line three.
Rangers Take Early Lead in First
The first period was full of a lot of exciting and fast hockey. The first and only goal was scored by Brendan Smith off of a K’andre Miller pass. Later in the period, Filip Chytil would make a highlight-reel move that barely hits off the post to keep the score the same. Both goaltenders made a ton of saves and played extremely well, but the Rangers went into the second period with the upper hand.
The Rangers played extremely well in the first. They played fast and put on a lot of pressure with all four lines. Keeping this momentum going into the second was a must for the Rangers if they wanted to extend their lead.
Penalties Cost the Blueshirts
The second period seemed to be a turning point in the game for the Rangers. They started off similar to the previous period, but took way to many penalties. The Flyers played much better in the second and took control of the game. James van Riemsdyk had an extremely lucky goal off of his face to tie the game at one. The Flyers continued to swarm the Rangers for the remainder of the period. One of the few bright spots was Shesterkin, as he stopped almost everything, including a penalty shot.
The biggest problem for the Rangers in the second was penalties. Penalties killed the Rangers and was the only reason they went into the second intermission tied. The key to turning around the game was simple, no more penalties, and the Rangers looked to do that going into the third.
Rangers Run Out of Steam In the Third
The third period was just more of the second for the Rangers. As for what happened, the Blueshirts were simply outplayed. The Flyers were a much better team in the third, and it showed. The Rangers didn’t stop taking penalties either, as K’andre Miller went to the box on a 4 minute double minor. The Flyers would capitalize on the powerplay with another deflection goal by Van Riemsdyk to give them the lead. Jakub Voracek would make it 3-1 late, and all but put the game away. Artemi Panarin would score one to generate some false hope, but it wouldn’t be enough to win and the Rangers would lose the game 3-2.
Playoffs Looking Out of Reach
To summarize this game: The Rangers were simply outplayed. Too many penalties costed them on the scoreboard, and missed chances kept the Flyers in it. With this loss, the Rangers all but ended their playoff push. It would take a miracle for the Blueshirts to make it at this rate.
There are some pluses to this however. The future of the New York Rangers is bright, and this team has the potential to be very good for a very long time. Their young talent is amazing and will be stars in the league if they develop correctly. As for this year however, the Rangers fall further out of the playoff race with another loss.