What the Rangers Need to Do to beat the Flyers
The New York Rangers will be doing that in the beginning of this week as they will be taking on the Philadelphia Flyers in the postseason for the first time since 1997. These two teams have been rivals for a very long time and fans can know that this is going to be a series that is played with a lot of passion, physicality, and drive as both clubs look to get to the next round.
While the Rangers have had a lot of success against the Flyers over the last few seasons, this series is not going to be an easy one for the Blueshirts. The Flyers are a hockey club that knows how to put the puck in the net, plays a physical brand of hockey and can goad their opponent into taking needless penalties.
With that in mind, the Rangers will need to do the following in order to win their series against the Broad Street Bullies:
Get Great Goaltending from Lundqvist
In the postseason, NHL teams need to have a good goaltender in order to have a shot at winning hockey's Holy Grail.
The Blueshirts don't have a good goaltender. They have a great one in Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist had another solid regular season for his hockey club as he went 33-24-5 with a 2.36 goals against average, a .920 save percentage and five shutouts. Lundqvist certainly got off to a rough start this year and did not always look like himself between the pipes, but in the end, he was able to help his hockey club to the second best record in the Atlantic Division and with him between the pipes, will always give them a chance to win the Cup.
Lundqvist will need to come up big in this series against the likes of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell, Vincent Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn, and Sean Couturier. These players know how to put the puck on net, crash the crease for rebounds make life tough for opposing netminders, something they will more than likely try to do to Lundqvist.
Put Plenty of Pucks on Net
In year's past, the Rangers were a club that seemed hesitant to put the puck on net.
That has not been the case this season. The team is currently third in the league with an average of 33 shots per game and come playoff time, the Blueshirts will need to have a "shoot first" mentality if they want to put the puck in net.
Luckily for the Rangers, they have no shortage of guys that can put pucks on goal. Players like Brad Richards (257), Rick Nash (251), Derek Stepan (195), Mats Zuccarello (169 shots), Derick Brassard (155 shots) and Benoit Pouliot (140 shots) have all shown a knack this season to shoot the puck to create scoring chances.
While there is no doubt that Flyers' netminder Steve Mason had a solid regular season for his hockey club, he is a netminder that can be beaten. Like they did in the regular season, the Blueshirts must not be afraid to shoot the puck and be there for rebounds when Mason gives them up.
While the Flyers can definitely play an offensive style of hockey, they are also a team that can play rough and mix it up with the best of them.
This is not the kind of game that the Rangers want to play. Yes, the Rangers have some players that can play physical, but that is not this team's style.
The last thing the Rangers want to do is find themselves in the penalty box a lot this season. Yes, the Rangers are one of the league's best teams in terms of penalty killing (third in the league) but spending time in the box is not the way to win hockey games during the most important time of the season.
The Rangers will need to keep their cool and play with discipline, something that could end hurting the Flyers in the long run.
If the Rangers can get quality goaltending from Lundqvist, put plenty of shots on Mason and play a smart brand of hockey, there is no reason why they should not be able to advance to the second round and give themselves an even better opportunity to win a Cup.