Rangers Oust Flyers, As Game 7 Dominance Continues
It wasn’t pretty in the defensive zone at times, but the New York Rangers deserved to win this game. The Rangers played fast, they were tough on the puck, and at times, downright relentless. If it hadn’t been for a great goaltending performance by Steve Mason, this game could have gotten out of hand in the 2nd period.
The Rangers tweaked their lineup for this game, and that tweak, came back to haunt the Flyers. Head coach, Alain Vigneault did not reveal his hand in terms of lineup changes after a 12pm team meeting. Alain Vigneault inserted game 3 catalyst, Daniel Carcillo into the game. Vigneault definitely wanted someone with more playoff experience, as opposed to going back to J.T. Miller. That tweak, would turn out to be a genius move by the Rangers’ boss.
The 1st period was tightly played, but the Rangers carried most of the play in the beginning stanza. The Rangers were quicker to pucks, forcing turnovers and getting shots. The Flyers were coming back on the counter-attack, and throwing shots at Lundqvist. The Rangers had a power play in the first period that seemed to slow their momentum. The man advantage continues to haunt and hurt the Rangers this post season. If not for Lundqvist, who had to make one big save on Vincent Lecavalier from the slot, the outcome may have been different.
The start of the 2nd period had the Rangers coming out flying. The Rangers broke up plays in the neutral zone, forced numerous Flyer turnovers in their own zone, and were dominant. Still, they could not solve Mason.
Then it happened, Daniel Carcillo received a magical backhand pass from Mats Zuccarello, and buried his opportunity. The pass went through two Flyers, and found the stick of Carcillo. The Rangers continued to dominate the period, but Steve Mason was holding strong.
At 11:46 of the period, Benoit Pouliot, who took a questionable goalie interference call three minutes earlier, received a brilliant pass from Derrick Brassard, and put it top-shelf on Steve Mason. Pouliot and Carcillo’s goal was all the Rangers would need on this night.
The 3rd period seemed like a 20 minute penalty kill for New York Ranger fans. New York went into lockdown mode and it almost cost them. The Flyers would hit the scoreboard just under five minutes into the 3rd. Jason Akeson took a shot that was originally blocked by Staal, and rifled it passed the stick side of Henrik Lunqvist. Lundqvist was thrown off by Staal’s block, and was unable to reset on the play.
Lundqvist: “I am just relieved and tired right now. And it’s a good feeling.” #NYR
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) May 1, 2014
However, for rest of the period, Lundqvist was stellar. The Flyers kept dumping and chasing the puck, but they were unable to break through again. The Rangers discipline played a huge part in this win. When they were given a penalty, the penalty kill stepped up. The final sequence of this game saw Mats Zuccarello hustle out a would-be icing call that brought the crowd to its feet. The final face-off went to center ice with just over 2 seconds remaining. The ref dropped the puck, and the crowd erupted. The Blueshirts are now 6-0 in game 7’s at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers will start 2nd round action Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins come off of a tough series themselves, as the Columbus Blue Jackets gave them all they could handle. Alain Vigneault must watch film of how the Blue Jackets gave the Pens all they can handle and take it to another level. See you Friday!
Hearing schedule for Rangers-Pens is Game 1 Friday at Pitt, Game 2 Sunday at Pitt, Game 3 Monday at MSG, Game 4 Wed at MSG. Not official. — Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) May 1, 2014