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New York Rangers, Brad Richards, Trounce Flyers 4-1 to Take Early Series Lead

April 18th, 2014 at 3:16 AM
By Ricky Cibrano

If you could script exactly how the New York Rangers' first playoff game of the Alain Vigneault era would look, it wouldn't have been much different than that. The Blueshirts were simply the better team in every aspect of the game — especially in a third period that saw the Rangers strike thrice — in knocking off the Philadelphia Flyers  4-1 to take a 1-0 series lead. Mats Zuccarello tied it three minutes after Philadelphia took an early lead, Brad Richards led the way with a goal and two assists, and Martin St. Louis had two power play helpers in his first playoff game in New York.

  • It's only one game, but the differences between Vigneault and John Tortorella have never been more apparent. The Rangers cycled and possessed the puck — things they routinely failed miserably at under Tortorella – and were led to victory by two players Torts had no use for, Richards and Zuccarello, the later of which was the best player on the ice. The difference between the two coaches was never more evident than on Carl Hagelin's goal — Richards delayed at the offensive blueline and skated across the top of the zone on the rush to create space and a better shooting angle, which ultimately led to Hagelin putting the rebound home. That type of east-west play would never have been permitted under Tortorella.
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New York Rangers Vs. Philadelphia Flyers Position-By-Position Breakdown

April 16th, 2014 at 10:20 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

As a certain (in)famous wide receiver once said, getcha popcorn ready. New York Rangers-Philadelphia Flyers, for the first time since 1997, will be many things, and entertaining is sure to be one of them.  So without further ado, let's take a look at how this series breaks down in five categories: forwards, defenseman, goaltending, special teams, and coaching.

Forwards

There's no shortage of depth up front for either team in this series. The Flyers ice seven 20-goal scorers, while the Rangers have just three, but do have 10 players that scored in double digits. The series' lone 30-goal man, Martin St. Louis, will be suiting up for the Blueshirts, but as has been well documented, just one of those 30 came with his new team. However, while the Rangers do have scoring depth, what they've lacked is consistency. The Blueshirts 2.61 goals per game ranked 18th in the league, while Philly, at 2.84 and 8th in the league, had no such issues after their early season doldrums. That, coupled with the presence of Claude Giroux — the best forward in the series — and the absence of Chris Kreider, gives the Flyers the edge up front.

Defenseman

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The New York Rangers Vs. the Philadelphia Flyers, in the Words of Doc Emrick and the NBC Sports Crew

April 14th, 2014 at 9:01 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

As the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers prepare for their playoff series beginning Thursday night at the Garden, the guys calling the games for NBC, Mike "Doc" Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire, and Executive Producer Sam Flood, took the time to speak to the media about the playoffs as a whole on a conference call. Here's what they had to say about the Rangers and Flyers. And yes, that is a picture of Doc Emrick (who is a die-hard Pirates fan) with some bird-like creature that may or may not be the Pirates mascot, because why not?

Sam Flood: (on Rangers-Flyers) "I think it’s great, I think these two teams know each other well and have a nice train ride between the two buildings which makes it convenient for them to get back and forth.

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Who’s the Better Matchup for the New York Rangers: Philadelphia or Columbus?

April 12th, 2014 at 12:02 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

With the New York Rangers having clinched the second seed in the Metropolitan Division — and thus home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs — the only question that remains is: who will they be facing? The two options are the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets, who are currently deadlocked at 91 points. Philly, with one game in-hand and in possession of the tiebreaker with more regulation and shootout wins, is the more likely matchup, but nothing is impossible.

Philadelphia 

Season series: two wins apiece.

Philadelphia's start to the season was so horrendous it makes the Rangers own dismal beginning seem like a walk in the park. But, like the Blueshirts, Philly righted the ship before all was lost. Since face planting out of the gate to the tune of a 1-7 mark, the Flyers — now coached by Craig Berube after Peter Laviolette's dismissal — are 40-23-9, and are finding the back of the net with much greater regularity.

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New York Rangers Recall Jesper Fast, Tinker with Lines Again

April 7th, 2014 at 9:17 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

In the ongoing effort to fill the hole in the lineup created by Chris Kreider's injury, the New York Rangers have recalled forward Jesper Fast from Hartford. Did anyone really expect they'd elect to go into the playoffs with Dominic Moore or Dan Carcillo on the third line?

Fast made the team out of training camp, in part due to injuries to Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, and played eight games with the big club — failing to register a point — before being sent to the AHL for seasoning. Despite the lack of offensive production, the Swedish winger made an impression on coach Alain Vigneault. 

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