Rangers Dominate Flyers in Game 1 Victory at MSG
The Blueshirts dominated every facet of the hockey game tonight and as a result, came away with a 4-1 win to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Again, it is hard to judge a series on just one game, especially the first game of said series, but the Rangers certainly did a lot of things right tonight.
For starters, the Blueshirts were not afraid to put the puck on the net. In the regular season, the team finished second in the league in averaging around 33 shots per game, which certainly allowed the team to generate a lot more scoring chances and put the puck in a lot more than their fans were accustomed to seeing.
Tonight, the Rangers fired 36 shots at Flyers' netminder Ray Emery and were relentless in that aspect of the game in each period. The Rangers dominated the first period and outshot the Flyers by a 14-6 margin and then in the third period, the team cashed in on three of their 13 shots in the third period while only allowing one shot from the Broad Street Bullies.
Speaking of allowing shots, the Blueshirts played an extremely sound game defensively. Even with an offense that has the likes of Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, and Matt Read, the Rangers allowed 15 shots all game.
The Rangers were able to do that because of the constant pressure they applied on the Flyers all over the ice. More often than not in tonight's tilt, the Rangers were able to pin the Flyers deep in their own zone and create scoring chances while at the other end of the ice, they did a good job of forcing the Flyers to the outside to keep them from generating quality scoring chances.
The Blueshirts also dominated in terms of special teams play tonight. That was extremely apparent in the third period as the Rangers were able to blow open the game and cruise to a 1-0 lead in the series.
In that period, Flyers' forward Jason Akeson took a double minor and the Rangers made them pay. Rangers’ forward Brad Richards made it 2-1 in the first half of the minor with a blast from the right slot and then during the second half of the minor, Rangers' forward Derek Stepan finished off a beautiful passing play in which Ryan McDonagh, Martin St. Louis, and Richards all touched the puck.
Lastly, the Rangers' best players came through in this game while the Flyers' best players were kept quiet. Guys like Richards (one goal and two assists), Martin St. Louis (two assists), Derek Stepan (one goal), and Mats Zuccarello (one goal) all produced when they needed to in leading the team to a big victory in Game 1.
The series may be young, but the Rangers have opened it with a bang and showed the Flyers that they are going to be a tough hockey club to beat this series.