They don’t ask how; they ask how many, and the New York Rangers are winners of six straight following their 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night at Wells Fargo center. No, the Blueshirts didn’t turn in a complete 60-minute effort, but if you want to prove you’re a good team; you need to show you can win ugly too.
Philadelphia, who entered as losers in 12 of their last 15, received a “home bounce” off the boards for the early 1-0 lead. After a rush chance from Ben Harpur that missed the net and left the zone, the puck was taken the other way, and James van Riemsdyk received another hop off the wall before jamming one past Jaroslav Halak to give the hosts life just 7:11 into the contest.
The Rangers’ sluggish start continued, but Halak made some strong saves to mask the discrepancies. Finally, at the 16:58 mark, the Blueshirts announced their arrival, as Barclay Goodrow took a pass from Mika Zibanejad at the blue line and fed a streaking Artemi Panarin, down the right side, who roofed it into the yawning cage to tie it.
The second period began with a delay of game penalty from Harpur, who flipped the puck over the glass and a K’Andre Miller cross-check, giving the Flyers a couple of power play opportunities to retake the lead. However, steady play from a battle-tested Halak kept the game even before Miller put on a show.
The difficulty of his tally that put the Blueshirts ahead for good is personally second to none, a list that includes Trevor Zegras’s Michigan’s and Connor Mcdavid’s dekes, and is one that should have your consideration for the goal of the year.
Out of the penalty box following a successful penalty kill, the former forward-turned-defenseman chipped the puck off the right boards out of the defensive zone and steamed in on goaltender Carter Hart, only to be tripped by Philadelphia defenseman Travis Sanheim.
A penalty shot appeared to be on the way. But still, in the play, Miller had other ideas and quickly sprung back up to his skates, not breaking stride, maintained control of the puck, made a fake, and then scored on a backhander to put the Blueshirts on top 2-1 with 9:09 left in the middle stanza.
Charged up following the glorious tally, the Blueshirts used their speed and potted another one minutes later when Zibanejad fed Goodrow to double the advantage. Thirsty for more, Chris Kreider turned on the jets for a breakaway chance that appeared to have gone in for a moment, but Hart was able to knock it out of the net just before the disc completely crossed the red line.
While there was a Flyers penalty on the play, it was a blessing in disguise for them as Scott Laughton beat Halak on a shorthanded breakaway chance, cutting the Rangers’ lead to 3-2 with a pivotal third period on the horizon.
With his team needing an insurance goal to dispose of the bad taste from how the previous segment ended, Jimmy Vesey put New York back up two by scoring right over the glove of Hart, his third in two games.
The momentum was short-lived, though, as Morgan Frost snuck a shot under the arm of Halak 31 seconds later to make it a 4-3 game with 12:07 left to play. Things became dicey late when Vincent Trochcek slashed Frost to give Philadelphia a power play, which developed into a six-on-four after Hart was pulled for the extra attacker.
Nevertheless, empty netters by Jacob Trouba(His first as captain) and Ryan Lindgren restored order and pushed the heater to Sunday night in Chicago.
MSG MAGIC: The New York Knicks and New York Rangers are simultaneously on six-game winning streaks for the first time since November of 1993, and I don’t think I need to remind you all of the glory fans experienced that Spring, once they’re still searching to replicate more than two decades later.
MARV’S 3 STARS:
3 Barclay Goodrow:
I don’t understand the disdain Rangers fans have toward Barclay Goodrow. I know he doesn’t have the skill to be in the top six, but he makes up for it with his gritty play, veteran leadership, and hockey IQ.
“I always knew he had that skill,” Artemi Panarin told Larry Brooks of the New York Post. “He always uses his brain.
“I knew about all of it. He battles behind the net. He sets screens. He can pass. And he can score on breakaways, not like me.” Goodrow had a fancy assist on Panarin’s late first-period goal before deservingly netting one himself in the second period. He now ranks second on the team with seven even-strength goals behind Chris Kreider, who has nine.
2 Mika Zibanejad:
It was a splendid all-around night for Zibanejad, as the center registered three shots on goal, won 61.9% of his faceoffs and had two assists on the tallies by Panarin and Goodrow. He now has seven points during the winning streak.
1 K’Andre Miller:
Aside from his brilliant go-ahead goal, Miller still did his job as a defenseman and blocked a shot in front of the net, which led to Trouba’s empty netter, threw his body around with a few hits, forced turnovers, and contributed to the 4/4 night from the penalty kill in 18:25 of ice time. The 22-year-old has continued to improve his game which should net him a long-term payday this Summer.
The New York Knicks and New York Rangers are simultaneously on six-game winning streaks for the first time since November of 1993, and I don’t think I need to remind you all of the glory fans experienced that Spring, a feeling they’re still searching to replicate more than two decades later.