They may not have always been the hungrier of the two teams on the ice, but the Flyers remained the more skilled and – at least today – disciplined team to seal a 4-2 win.
New York continues to fight every day to maintain their tenuous grip on a playoff spot, hoping to avoid an ending like last year’s shootout against the Flyers that held them out of the post-season. The Flyers, on the other hand, have to stay motivated despite their far less pressing situation.
The Rangers started with far more energy than the Flyers, who looked like they woke up just in time to get dressed and stumble onto the ice for the 12:40 puck drop.
New York controlled the play for the majority of the first, picked up a 1-0 lead after defenseman Ryan McDonagh intentionally fired a shot wide for a bounce off the boards and out front to the stick of Wojtek Wolski, who put it past Brian Boucher.
The Flyers started to get their legs by the end of the period, ultimately getting on the board with Jeff Carter redirecting a Claude Giroux pass through the legs of Henrik Lundqvist.
In the second, as the Flyers’ power play took to the ice for one of the game’s three penalties – none of which were committed by the Flyers – and made the Rangers pay with Carter setting up Giroux for a goal only seconds after Lundqvist made a terrific stop on Carter.
In control, the Flyers put the back-breaker on New York with Dan Carcillo beating Henrik Lunqdvist with a backhand shot through his legs.
After 40 minutes, with only a period to go, the Flyers found themselves up by two goals. New York didn’t give up, though, and simply pushed that much harder to come back.
Early on, after making a stellar save on Derek Stepan, Brian Boucher went down with an awkward injury. It seemed that after colliding with Kimmo Timonen, Boucher was struck with pain in his neck and down his arm. After some time spent stretching out and recovering, Boucher stayed in net to finish the game.
Boucher stopped 14 of the 15 Rangers’ third period shots, with the lone goal coming moments after his injury as Derek Stepan found the puck alone on the back door.
The Flyers managed a mere three shots on goal in the final frame, forced instead to simply hold the Rangers off and try to keep their lead alive.
Boucher was impressive behind a pretty solid defense despite having lost Sean O’Donnell all the way back in the first – a loss that forced the rest of the defensive corps to step up and play extra minutes.
Kris Versteeg netted an empty net goal for his first as a Flyer to finish off the 4-2 win.