Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Flyers 2
March, 26, 2013
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
PHILADELPHIA -– At a glance: A tremendous four-point game from Derek Stepan and three-point night from Rick Nash fueled the Rangers to a 5-2 win over the struggling Flyers in Philadelphia on Tuesday, giving them a much-needed jump start to a crucial three-game road trip. Winless in their previous two games, the goal-starved Rangers tallied five goals in a well-rounded effort; New York now has 35 points.
Stepan up: Stepan set a career high with his four-point effort in a terrific game by the 22-year-old pivot. After setting up the first two Rangers goals, Stepan notched one of his own, backhanding a rebound past a sprawling Ilya Bryzgalov. He added another helper on Nash's second goal of the night in the third period.
Third-period rally: Sparked by a power-play goal late in the second, the Flyers cut the Rangers' lead to 3-2 on a shot that stung Jakub Voracek and seemed to surprise Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist midway through the third. Claude Giroux unleashed a slap shot that clipped Voracek in the face before squirting past Lundqvist. Nash snuffed out the comeback attempt, however, with a wraparound shot for his second goal of the night.
Breaking Brad: Scoring for the first time since March 10, slumping center Brad Richards netted a power-play goal with a high slap shot that extended the Rangers' lead to 2-0 in the second period. Picking up an assist on Chris Kreider's third-period goal, Richards registered his third multipoint game of the season and first since Jan. 26, after being relegated to the third line on Tuesday night.
Shake-up: The Rangers debuted some new lines in pregame warm-ups and stuck with them when the puck dropped. Coach John Tortorella united Stepan with Nash and speedy winger Carl Hagelin; rookie J.T. Miller centered the team’s second line with Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan; and Richards was dropped to the third line with Kreider and Brian Boyle. Tortorella also played with defensive pairings, using Michael Del Zotto with Dan Girardi.
First strike: The Rangers opened scoring for only the second time in the past seven games when Nash ripped a shot top-shelf from the slot to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead with 5:06 to play in the first. Some nice puck movement set up the play; both Stepan and Girardi earned assists on the play.
Back in action: Struck in the face with a puck earlier in the second frame, Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds returned to the game to whittle the Rangers' lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal with 2:07 left in the period. The Flyers entered Tuesday’s game with a power play that ranked seventh in the league (22.4 percent).
Up next: Rangers at Senators, Thursday at 7:30 p.m.