Philadelphia Flyers: Statement win over Rangers

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

In what was their biggest game of the season to date, the Philadelphia Flyers remained hot on Friday night with a 5-2 victory over the visiting New York Rangers.

Score one for the good guys.

In the first clash between the two streaking teams this weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers were excellent in beating the New York Rangers. Coming into the game, New York had won five straight and nine of its last ten, but the Flyers put an emphatic end to things. And their best players had a big hand in it.

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Captain Claude Giroux put together one of his best efforts of the season, netting two goals and doing his usual dominant work in the faceoff circle, where he won 13 of 16 draws. Giroux put five shots on net against New York netminder Alexandar Georgiev, and he was noticeable on the ice all night.

As a team, the Flyers poured 40 shots on Georgiev, with Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk each registering a team-high six of them. Unsurprisingly, both Hayes and JVR lit the lamp, pumping their season totals to 22 and 19 goals, respectively.

And we didn’t even mention the first star yet.

That would be Jakub Voracek, who dished out four assists in the game. They weren’t cheap either, as three of them were direct set-ups for goals. It was Voracek’s first 4-point game since October 10, 2018 (a night were he actually had five) and his first 4-assist performance since December 20, 2014.

Carter Hart, meanwhile, continued his amazing season at the Wells Fargo Center. He stopped 26 of 28 shots in the game, pushing his record at home this season to an otherworldly 18-2-2. The 5-2 final score isn’t indicative of how good Hart had to be on Friday night. This wasn’t some laugher where he could sit back. Hart denied the Rangers’ top scorers all night with key stops, as the only goals against him came on an outstanding effort by Jesper Fast to open the scoring and then a garbage-time tally at the end of the game. With each passing game, Hart is showing that he could make all the difference for this club. Perhaps the prophecy has been fulfilled.

Some might point to fatigue factoring into this game, as the Rangers had played the night before in Montreal and arrived in Philadelphia very late. It’s true that that kind of travel plus hitting the ice for another important road game less than 24 hours later isn’t conducive to playing your best hockey. But the Flyers weren’t going to show any mercy against their longtime foe, who they were meeting for the 299th time in franchise history.

Meeting #300 will come on Sunday afternoon at MSG, and the Flyers have a chance to deliver a devastating blow to the Rangers, who also had the misfortune of losing the recently extended Chris Kreider to a fractured foot during Friday’s game.

But that just shows how quickly things can change in the NHL. The Rangers were the hottest team in the league one minute, the next they slammed into a wall known as the Flyers while losing one of their best players in the same game. But if you’re the Flyers, you take any advantage you can get. Injuries, scheduling, it’s all part of the experience. Let this serve as the latest cautionary tale that, no matter the situation, you can’t let up. The Flyers haven’t yet, and my eyes and gut are telling me that they’ll keep it going on Sunday.

Flyers: Measuring stick weekend vs. Rangers. dark. Next

The Flyers are feeling it right now and it seems like, at long last, the light has gone on. Imagine how fun it would be for them to crush their rivals’ dreams on Sunday afternoon. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.