The New York Rangers (21-8-4) are now in a first place tie with the Philadelphia Flyers (21-9-4) in the Eastern Conference standings, thanks to a 4-2 Blueshirts victory at a rocking Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
In the second of six meetings between these teams, the rivalry continued with a bang, as the Blueshirts won their fourth consecutive game. Featuring huge open-ice hits and several scrums the Blueshirts and the Flyers only gave their fans a taste of what is to come in their next meeting, which so happens to be the Winter Classic on January 2.
The hard hitting escalated with the first fight of the game at the 16:07 mark when Brandon Prust exchanged blows with Marc-Andre Bourdon. The lengthy battle featured a spin-cycle of blows for both combatants.
Fans of the Blueshirts must have experience déjà vu as two redirected Stu Bickel shots set-up the two Rangers’ goals in the second period of play. Bickel (3) had a booming shot deflected in by Derek Stephan (8) at the 10:18 mark, on a great display of hand-eye coordination by Stephan.
Ruslan Fedotenko (5) was rewarded for his fine play of late, with a deflection of another Bickel boomer at the 15:29 mark of the frame. Both goals were reviewed by the officials, and were credited as good goals.
The Rangers continued their fine offensive play in the final frame, as Marian Gaborik took over the NHL goal scoring lead with a score at the 1:48 mark. The Blueshirts winger now has found the net six times in the last four games.
The Flyers snapped the shut-out bid by Henrik Lundqvist at the 10:21 mark, when Andrej Meszaros (5) recorded a power play goal. Blueshirts captain Ryan Callahan responded with an extra-man score at 14:04 for the 4-1 lead.
Philadelphia made it interesting by cutting the lead one last time at the 17:50 mark on a goal by James van Riemsdyk (9), but Lundqvist (28 saves) and the rest of the Rangers defense stood tall to propel themselves to the first place tie.
The Rangers will look to continue this winning stretch with Round Four of the Battle of the Big Apple against the Islanders on Monday at 7:00 p.m.
Written on December 24, 2011