The Rangers bounced back from their last loss and hit some milestones in Philly tonight. They won their 40th game of the year, for the second consecutive game. They won their tenth game in the month of March. The first time in team history they have done that. They swept the Flyers in Philly, four out of four, first time they have ever done that but more important they moved two points closer to a playoff position.
The big difference between this year and last is that last years season ended with a six game losing streak and this team is ending the season on a roll, so far. Since the trade deadline the Rangers are 11-2-3 and there offense seems to be picking up. Of course they have given up ten goals in their last two games as the defense has gotten sloppy. However, the addition of Sean Avery has given the team a swagger it seemed to be missing before. He was on the ice for two Ranger goals picking up an assist on Callahan's (3) goal.
Jaromir Jagr played one of his strongest games of the year with two goals (27,28) and an assist. His first period goal was pure artistry and he was voted the number one star of the game. Nylander with three assists was number two and Ben Eager of the Flyers with two goals (5,6) was number three star. Jagr's performance had to be very encouraging as the Rangers come down the stretch. He is now two goals shy of recording his 15th thirty goal season of his career. Maybe, just maybe, he may be ready to start carrying the team and it will be none too soon.
Lundqvist made thirty three saves but I believe there were at least two that should never have made it to the back of the net. However, he excelled in the third period after giving up the fourth Flyer goal early in the period. We need the Prince back in top form for the remaining four games to get get into the playoffs and then do some damage.
The game was kind of docile for a Ranger/Flyer tussle. The Flyers out hit the Rangers 18-11 and there were few if any confrontations. The Rangers were also outshot 37-34 but where it mattered they came up on top. The other Ranger scorers were Pock (4), Straka (28) and Prucha (20) who continues his fine second half rebound. Also Thomas Pock is playing like I always believed he could and it would be a shame for him to sit for either Tyutin or Rachunuk. Along with Gerardi and Callahan and the Avery and Mara additions they have been mainly responsible along with Lundqvist for the teams success.
Only one team in the hunt lost tonight and that was the Islanders who fell to the Ottawa Senators. Carolina did not play but the other three, Tampa Bay, Montreal and Toronto all won. It is beginning to look like four teams will fight for the last three playoff spots with the Islanders and Carolina fading away.
Tampa Bay 90 points 3 games remaining
Rangers 89 points 4 games remaining
Montreal 88 points 3 games remaining
Toronto 87 points 4 games remaining
Islanders 84 points 4 games remaining
Carolina 84 points 4 games remaining
ICINGS: Fedor Tyutin might return tomorrow night against Toronto and I hope he will replace Strudwick who I have to admit has filled in nicely but so would have David Liffiton.
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