Facing a division rival in the second game of a back-to-back is always going to be tough, but the Philadelphia Flyers made it look easy on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Against the New York Rangers, coming in winners of their last nine road games, the Flyers scored four goals unanswered to pull away for a 5-2 home victory. It was their fifth win in a row, moving them to second place in the Metropolitan Division on 81 points. Claude Giroux scored two goals while Jakub Voracek added four assists for a first-ever team performance against the Rangers. Kevin Hayes added the final touch with his 20th goal of the season, stamping a second win over the Rangers this season.
“It was a great team win,” Hayes said. “They came out and scored the first goal then we responded the right way. I thought everyone played great tonight especially Coots’s line. Like I said earlier, I’m not really big on individual statistics, scoring is always nice, but it was a great team win. I thought it was a huge team effort and a big two points.”
“I thought we responded the right way, it’s tough playing back to back. From experience it’s hard to go two games like that and when teams are fighting for playoff points and I thought the way we responded as a team was huge for us. We came together as a team after down 1-0 and stuck it to them and they scored one at the end, but I thought we handed it to them.”
Jesper Fast opened the scoring for the Rangers just three minutes into the opening period in what was a dominating opening eight minutes for the visitors. However, the Flyers woke up and leveled the game before intermission. Sean Couturier’s close-range finish begin the comeback for Alain Vigneault’s side who eventually rolled off a pair of go-ahead goals in the second period.
James van Riemsdyk’s rebound finish moved the Flyers in front before Giroux extended the lead to 3-1 off a one-timer at the top of the right circle. Giroux added his second goal of the day after a finish off his foot on the power play in the third period ahead of Hayes’ gritty finish to cap off the one-sided play.
Bar down from the dot. That’s what @28CGiroux does.@JagermeisterUSA | #NYRvsPHI pic.twitter.com/jesz3yBTU1
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) February 29, 2020
Brett Howden added a consolation goal for the Rangers in the final five minutes of the game, but it was a disappointing result for the Rangers who missed out on both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes losing.
“When we broke the tie and just continued to pressure and generate and G went short side,” Carter Hart (who made 25 saves) said. “We were in their zone for most of the period there and we had that one shift that I don’t know how long we were in there. Maybe one to two minutes, where we just sustained pressure but we did that all night and we just played hard.”
“They’re a good hockey team. They got the guys on their team that are skilled and can make plays and they have been playing great hockey lately. We knew it was going to be a test coming in, but we prepared which was nice to get this win here tonight. Just got to go into the game on Sunday with the same mindset.”
The Flyers moved to five home wins away from the team’s all-time record of 28, remaining very much in the hunt for a Metropolitan Division title. A tough stretch of games continue on Sunday as the Flyers take the trip to Madison Square Garden for a final meeting with the Rangers. After that, the Flyers also face the Washington Capitals (away), Carolina Hurricanes (home) and Buffalo Sabres (home) in a span of three games in six days.
The @NHLFlyers, with 10 wins in Feb. and Nov. 2019, have collected posted multiple months with 10-plus victories in a single season for the third time in franchise history. The others: 2001-02 (Dec. and Jan.) and 1974-75 (Dec. and March). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/u5wJMeqNMz
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 29, 2020
“Everybody is playing great,” Giroux said. “We are really enjoying it right now with what we are doing. We are playing the right way. We are winning games. We are just playing the right way. If we keep doing that, we will be successful.”
You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].
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