1) So the Flyers are frustrated, losing seven in a row, including all five this year, to the Best Team in the East? Well, maybe they should stop playing all those idiots and understand that the Rangers not only won’t be intimidated, but they’ll be happy to play that type of game, any day, anywhere. And beat them at it. And that the Rangers’ bottom six forwards are better than the Flyers’ bottom six, by a lot. And that the Flyers’ best game in the season series was the Winter Classic when those clowns didn’t play. I’d love to see behind-the-scenes footage of the Rangers celebrating when they get the official lineup and see Sestito’s playing.
2) Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. The Rangers power play has been making small improvements the last few games. I appreciate that some of you guys didn’t want to hear that, only wanted to see results. But it’s getting better. Having said that you might want to discount the two PPGs scored on the rush, because, well, that’s man-advanatge, but that’s not drawn-up PPs. Moving feet, moving pucks, and moving toward the net, and not away from it. In those areas, they’re getting better.
3) Marian Gaborik loves playing the Flyers. So does Brad Richards. And Brandon Dubinsky. Heck, all of them. The thing with Dubinsky is he’s so good on the PK, why can’t he figure it out that he needs to play that same way, always moving, at even strength? I guess you have no choice but to move on the PK.
4) The Flyers did the Rangers some favors with all those shots from above the circles, especially on their PP. With all those Block Ness Monsters and Henrik Lundqvist in goal, that’s not going to work. Speaking of whom, how good, again, were Lundqvist, Ryan McMonster and Block Ness Monster Girardi? Jaromir Jagr spent a lot of time up there above the circles. Looked like he wasn’t interested in competing. But we’ve seen that with him during his career.
5) The Claude Giroux goal was total FUBAR (military term, google it; and in the glory days of John Muckler’s reign here we in the pressbox called it MUBAR). But first you had Staal in way deep and flat-footed. Then you had guys changing, with the longer second-period change, and doing it poorly. Then you had Artem Anisimov trying to play defense, and playing the puck against, of all people, the Flyers’ best offensive player. On top of that, you had Lundqvist making what would have been a sensational save if he had any help coming back to prevent Giroux from jamming the loose rebound and Lundqvist’s arm into the net. Fortunately all those things only added up to one goal.
7) The game looks a lot different for the Rangers, a lot easier, and they look a whole lot better top to bottom, when the top two lines knock in a couple of goals.
8) I think Anisimov plays a really good game away from the puck, and he’s been physical lately and using his size, and he’s a terrific skater. But this is why Anisimov needs to get to areas where he can score more goals: His GAS linemates, Gaborik and Derek Stepan are such good passers.
10) Once again, here’s a shining example of why +/- is a useless stat. Gaborik—one goal, three assists, minus-1. So those PP points don’t matter? Those four goals for which he was more than partly responsible? Don’t mean as much as a goal-against on which he was nowhere near the play or a factor in it being scored.
11) Some of you will probably hate me for suggesting this. You guys would love Scott Hartnell if he was a Ranger. Simmonds, too. Hartnell’s a bigger, better Sean Avery, minus the off-ice baggage and the polarizing effect in the room. He also, in his own annoying way, really enjoys playing hockey.
12) The last two games, we’ve seen the difference Richards can make, haven’t we? And why the Rangers (over)paid him to come here.
13) Isn’t it nearly impossible to believe that the Flys, with all their goalie issues, with their losing streaks, and their 0-5 record vs. the East Beasts, are still so close to the Rangers in the Patrick Division?
14) Let’s do this again today at 12:30. For the record, I’d start Lundqvist again. And in Boston Tuesday. Why not? You know he wants to play.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Ryan Callahan.
2) Marian Gaborik.
3) Henrik Lundqvist.
AP photos, above.