It was over a month ago that the Flyers were the hottest team in the NHL, gathering points in 12 of 13 games. The Flyers entered the tilt against the New York Rangers desperate to go into the All Star break on a positive note.
The Flyers are 4-9-3 since the ten game winning streak has ended. They were one point out of the last Wild Card spot for the playoffs entering the tilt against the Rangers. Staring at them was a goaltender Henrik “The King” Lundqvist, who usually owns the Flyers.
Lundqvist stopped 80 of 84 shots in three straight wins, before hitting rock bottom against the Dallas Stars last Tuesday night. He allowed seven goals to the Stars in the loss.
Steve Mason stated before the game, “Both these games have implications directed to us in the standings. Both being Eastern Conference teams, and they are right with one another. We have to have a short mind set. We have the Rangers tonight, and that’s going to be a tough game at the Madison Square Garden. Once that game is over we can focus on the Maple Leafs.”
Mason’s words could be taken in a positive way to keep his team relaxed and confident. This may be what the doctor ordered because he was flat out dominant. From his first save just 2:17 into the game, he seemed to put the Flyers at ease. He made 34 saves, en route to a strong 2-0 Flyers victory at the Garden.
At 2:17 into the first period, the Rangers finally had their first shot on net. Mason made an easy blocker save keeping the score 0-0. Both teams were very good in the neutral zone through the first five minutes, and could not sustain much pressure.
At 11:21 into the first period, Pavel Buchnevich and Rick Nash were on a 2-on-1 rush. Buchnevich made a nice pass to Nash, who one timed the puck. Mason made a sprawling spectacular save keeping the score 0-0.
Both teams were very good in limiting turnovers in the first period, with both teams only making two of them a piece. This was a goaltenders first period with Lundqvist making eight saves, and Mason making 16 spectacular saves keeping the score 0-0. The Flyers won the face off margin 57%-43%.
Just 1:49 into the second period, Michael Raffl took the first penalty of the night. He was called for interference on Rick Nash. The Flyers penalty killing was phenomenal, as they limited the Rangers to just two shots on net. Mason made both saves keeping the score 0-0.
With 10:01 remaining in the second period, Andrew Macdonald was called for a tripping penalty on Mats Zuccarello. The Flyers penalty killers were great once again, not allowing a single shot on the Rangers power play keeping the score 0-0. Chris Vandevelde and Pierre Bellemare did a great job on the penalty kill, and managed to generate a 2-on-1 rush. Lundqvist made the save on Bellemare keeping the score 0-0.
It was a goaltenders period again, as the second period ended with no score 0-0. Both goalies made strong saves that period, with Mason making 11 great saves. Lundqvist was just as strong making eight saves. The Flyers won the face off margin 58%-42%.
At 14:25 in the third period, Matt Puempel was called for a tripping penalty. On the ensuing power play, Jake Voracek took a shot from the right circle that was easily saved by Lundqvist. Wayne Simmonds gathered the rebound, and back handed the puck over Lundqvist’s shoulder for a 1-0 Flyers lead. It was Simmonds 20th goal of the year.
With 12:56 remaining in the third period, Claude Giroux was called for tripping. This was the Rangers third power play of the night. The Flyers penalty killers were great again, as they limited the Rangers to just one shot in net. Mason made the save keeping the score 1-0.
At 10:15 in the third period, Jake Voracek managed to dig a puck from the corner, and he quickly fired the puck on net. The puck ricocheted off Michael Grabner’s skate past Lundqvist for the 2-0 Flyers lead.
With 6:01 remaining in the third period, Mats Zuccarello was called for interference on Claude Giroux. The Rangers killed off the penalty, and limited the Flyers to just one shot on net. Lundqvist made the save keeping the score 2-0 Flyers.
The third period would come to a close, with Steve Mason out dueling Henrik “The King” Lundqvist for a much needed 2-0 Flyers victory. The Rangers out shot the Flyers 34-26, but the Flyers won the face off margin 58%-42%.
Steve Mason took the Flyers on his shoulders tonight, and really played a great game. He saw the puck well tonight, and he did not allow the Rangers many second chances. Mason was strong with his rebound control, and that was a big key in the Flyers victory. The Flyers have little time to be joyful, as they play the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at 7pm. Follow me on Twitter for all Flyers updates @JameyBaskow
Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports