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Nashty!

The energy resonated throughout the world’s most famous arena last night as the Rangers took down the Philadelphia Flyers in their last home meeting against the Broadstreet Bullies.

Rick Nash and the Blueshirts reminded the crowd why these boys in blue ranked as Stanley Cup-contenders. The Ranger weapon, acquired from the Blue Jackets, lead his team with two goals and an assist last night. With Nash back in the lineup and the Blueshirts showing some sure-fire signs of a team headed in the right direction, do not be surprised to see the Rangers creep their way up the standings.

The puck is starting to go in the net, and the Rangers had the jump on Tuesday night that is characteristic of the Blueshirt squad. The early attack and the ability to get on the board from the get go helped the Rangers in the last few games to come out with the victory. With the tough schedule the Rangers face and especially with the difficult division they are in, it is essential that the Blueshirts come out flying and sustain a high intensity throughout every game. Now that the season is well on its way, it is becoming more apparent that the Rangers are starting to find their legs and the back of the net.

Nashty
The Rangers’ Ryan Callahan scored against Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the first period of a 4-2 win over Philadelphia at the Garden.
(Barton Silverman/The New York Times)

The players seem to be starting to gel, and the powerplay proved much more consistent and successful in the past few games. The Rangers’ power play has tallied a goal in five of the last eight games (6-27, 22.2% over the span). They tallied two goals in four power play attempts (7:33) on Sunday vs. Buffalo.

The first period started with an early power-play goal from the Blueshirts’ captain, Ryan Callahan, at 1:30 in the first period. The Ranger’s success started with Michael Del Zotto leading the rush, getting to a loose puck at the Flyer’s blue line. The Blueshirts created an odd-man rush and Callahan retrieved the puck in front to roof it past Ilya Bryzgalov to make it 1-0 Rangers.

The Flyers answered on the power play at 7:18 in the first period to tie the game. Wayne Simmonds tipped in a shot from Claude Giroux. Philly scored on the power play again when Jakub Voracek wristed a shot past Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-1 Flyers.

Despite the Flyers retaliation, the stellar passing and consistent intensity by the Blueshirts persisted and the Rangers tied the game to make it 2 to 2. The goal came at the end of the second period with a strong move to the net and right around the Flyer goaltender. Captain Callahan kept his team in the game and recovered the momentum heading to the third period.

The third period proved to be worth the price of admission. The Rangers’ Nash scored two big goals. The first goal coming off the rush after a blocked shot and a save by Lundqvist. Dan Girardi got the puck and passed it off the boards to Nash who gained the zone and riffled one just over the blocker glove of Bryzgalov. Nash solidified the lead to make it 4-2 when the Rangers capitalized on a bad change by the Flyers. Callahan got the puck off to an on-coming Nash at center ice. Nash continued with speed into the offensive zone and deked to his backhand to make it 4-2 Rangers. Nash hooked on the play, kept control to get it by the Flyer goalie.

Rick Nash snapped a third-period tie
New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) skates off the ice with center J.T. Miller (47) and left wing Carl Hagelin (62) after scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Rangers won 4-2.
(Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports)

“My theory is give him the puck and let him do his thing,” Girardi said. “I just chipped the puck up the wall and he goes down and scores. It’s an easy game that way. He’s such a dynamic player, and he’s a game-breaker. That’s why we had to trade away a lot of guys to get a player like that. He has been big for us and I expect big things from him.”

Nash tallied a point and an assist in each of his last six games (three goals, six assists over the span).

“I just started smiling after he scored the second goal,” said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist who made 23 saves for his 10th win of the season. “It just feels so good to have a player like that on the team. We have a lot of guys that can step up, but he just brings it to another level.” (NHL.com)

The Rangers swept the season series against the Flyers last season, posting a 6-0-0 record overall with a 3-0-0 mark at home and a 3-0-0 at Philadelphia. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is only the second time the Blueshirts swept the Flyers, having also done so in 1971-72 (6-0-0). The last time the Rangers swept the home series against the Flyers was during the 1991-92 season (4-0-0), and the last time they swept the road series in Philadelphia was in 2006-07 (4-0-0).

The victory proved a bit bitter-sweet at the end of the third period when Ranger defensemen, Marc Staal was struck in the eye with the puck and immediately dropped to the ice in pain. The injury looked devastating, but according to Dr. Mark Fromer and Dr. Mendel Markowitz, Staal is expected to make a full recovery. However, he is out indefinitely for the time being.

The Blueshirts will take on the neighboring rival, the New York Islanders, this Thursday in Long Island at 7 p.m. EST.

Kaitlin Sullivan

Kaitlin Sullivan

Massachusetts native, and avid hockey fanatic, I grew up in a "hockey family" and began spending countless hours in frigid hockey rinks beginning at age 2. I eat, sleep, breathe, and love every aspect of the game and I have always known that hockey was my passion. Unfortunately being a 5'5" female, however, would not grant me a place in the show. The next best thing would be writing and hopefully someday becoming a rink-side NHL reporter. My past reporting experience includes work with ESPNU Campus Connection, WHDH Channel 7 Boston, and Madison Square Garden Network. I am currently a sports broadcasting major at Boston College. Twitter: @kaitEsull
Kaitlin Sullivan

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