The kids lead the way as the Rangers bounce back in a decisive win against the Flyers.
The New York Rangers suffered a tough loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
That practically put an end to their playoff hopes, but meant that the coaching staff would have the chance to allow the kids to develop without feeling the pressure of winning.
The Rangers would have the chance to bounce back in game two of a back-to-back against the Flyers on Friday.
The only change to the lineup on Friday would be Alexandar Georgiev taking over in net.
1st period: Another good start
Like Thursday, the Rangers opened the game with a great first period. Chris Kreider gave them a 1-0 lead with a power play goal. He’s now tied for the league-lead in power play goals and has scored 20 goals for the sixth time in his career.
The Flyers tied the game less than a minute later, but the Rangers scored another goal to head into the second with the lead. Pavel Buchnevich scored his 20th goal, as well, for his second 20-goal season.
Adam Fox now leads all defensemen in assists and is sixth in the league in that category.
Artemiy Panarin is now just one assist behind Fox.
2nd period: Superb special teams
The second period was uneventful and not particularly exciting until Kevin Rooney and Scott Laughton were penalized for fighting just over 12 and a half minutes in.
The Rangers went on to commit two penalties and were forced to play five-on-three hockey. The penalties were unnecessary, but the Rangers did a great job on the kill. Georgiev, in particular, was outstanding and kept his team in the lead.
No goals were scored in the second, but the Rangers were fortunate to have come out of this period still leading 2-1. Would they be able to maintain the lead or even add to their goal total or would they lose what they had in yet another game?
3rd period: The kids are alive
The Flyers outshot the Rangers 11-8 in the third, but the Rangers were able to score two more to close out the game while keeping the Flyers off the board. This period was all about the kids.
Alexis Lafrenière, who had recently been promoted to the top line, scored his ninth of the season, and it was highlight-worthy. Lafrenière showed off his filthy hands on this goal and looked like the Lafrenière that was advertised prior to the draft.
Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko, along with Panarin, got in on the action not long after. Chytil has had so many scoring opportunities and was due for a goal, which he got to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead.
This was a great response by the Rangers, from Georgiev and the defense to the offense. The youngsters continue to improve game-by-game, a great sign for next season.
Key Moment: Second period special teams
The Rangers were great throughout the game, but the key moment was the penalty killing of the second period. The too-many-men call and K’Andre Miller’s tripping penalty were unnecessary and reckless penalties that could’ve been disastrous for the team.
However the skaters, and Georgiev, did a great job while short-handed and didn’t let the Flyers tie the game. The penalty kill has been the strongest part of the team this season, and the second period of this game showed us why.
Player of the game: Mika Zibanejad
Mika Zibanejad has really turned things around since the beginning of March. This game was proof of that. He was solid defensively and quite impactful offensively, recording another multi-point game.
Zibanejad’s numbers: 19:10 TOI, 2 A, 38.89 CF%, 0.04 iXG, 0.41 xGF, 0.5 xGA, 1.93 GF, 0 GA, 2.38 Game Score, 0.37 defensive rating, 0.73 offensive rating, and 1.27 individual rating.
Stats are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and Hockey Stat Cards.