What looked to be a stellar win for the New York Rangers on home ice no less turned into a nervous last couple of minutes. Nonetheless, the Rangers won the game 4-3 over the Philadelphia Flyers and officially eliminated them from playoff contention. For the third consecutive season the Rangers hit the 100-point mark.
It seems this was the night to get all the kinks out and work on specific things to prepare for the playoffs. They got the win at home, the first since February 19th. They scored a power play goal, they were 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. So adjusts have been made but there is still much work to do. In the playoffs you need a full sixty-minute effort if not more and the Rangers made the garden faithful sweat as the Flyers were able to pull within one goal with 90 seconds remaining after having a 4-1 lead.
Mats Zuccarello tied single-game career-highs with three assists and three points, was credited with two takeaways, and posted a plus-two rating. Zuccarello added to his career-high in assists (44), and he is the first Ranger who has recorded 44 assists in one season since Marian Gaborik in 2009-10. He has tallied a point in five of the last six games (one goal, seven assists) and in nine of the last 11 games (three goals, 10 assists). Zuccarello leads the Rangers in assists and points (59) in 2016-17.
Brendan Smith tallied his first goal as a Ranger and was credited with two takeaways in 17:02 of ice time. He has tallied four points (one goal, three assists) in the last nine games.
Derek Stepan registered two assists, including an assist on the game-winning goal, and posted a plus-one rating. Stepan has notched a point in five of the last six games (three goals, three assists), and he has tallied 10 points (four goals, six assists) over the last 12 games.
A lot of the Rangers were clicking last night and it could be they are getting their game back as they have struggled in play as of late. If these are signs of things to come than you have to believe the Rangers will be a very tough team to play in the playoffs. These last few games will be tune ups and more adjustments along with resting some players who I’m sure can use it.
There are three games left in the season spread out over the next week, so the Rangers will get plenty of rest and practice time. Their biggest test as far as matching up against a team ready for a Stanley Cup will be Wednesday night in Washington. It’s unclear if we’ll see all the Rangers in the lineup but it would be wise to play near the top of the game so the Rangers can see how they would match up in case this would be an Eastern Conference Finals match.