Talk about turnabout being fair play, how about those Rangers exiting Seventh Avenue on Tuesday evening after bowing to Buffalo and then invading Philadelphia and coming away with a 5-2 triumph last night.
Then again, that’s hockey — where 180-degree turnarounds are as possible as Michael Grabner breakaways or Chris Kreider‘s net-crashing.
Whatever the issue that led to the Sabres shellacking, Alain Vigneault went back to the drawing board and sketched the new road to victory at Wells Fargo Center against a Flyers team in close pursuit of the New Yorkers.
Most important, the win on Broad Street should bolster the Blueshirts confidence as they prepare for the — call it what you will, “grudge,” “revenge,” rivalry — Saturday game against John Tortorella‘s troupe led by ex-Ranger Brandon Dubinsky.
The match in Columbus against the stratospheric Blue Jackets looms as a major test for A.V.’s skaters and easily ranks as the most important Rangers test of the season up to this point.
OVERVIEW: From clunker to conquest, the Blueshirts did what had to be done to the Bullies and dispatched Philly in fine fashion. If ever there was a stage-setter for the next challenge, the 5-2 decision should be fair warning to Tort’s team that there’s trouble ahead.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- ON TIME SERVICE: The sense of urgency, missing against Buffalo, returned with a bang on Broad Street. Vigneault’s offense played with jump from the get-go. Plus the defense was a lot quicker to pucks, putting their shots in the passing lanes.
- A HOT HANK: Reverting to clutch form, Henrik Lundqvist was a first-period marvel when the Flyers stormed the barricades. Notably, Hank’s breakaway save on Wayne Simmonds set the table for a Rangers feast. Henny maintained that high level throughout. He out-goaled Steve Mason over three periods.
- THE GRABNER EFFECT: Proving that his early season red lights do not need a battery recharge, the truly incredible Grabner scored twice, hiking his goal total to 16 — count ’em, 16 — with the sky the limit.
- COMING ON STRONG: Nursing a 1-0 lead into the third period, the Blueshirts handled the clutch final frame by busting the game open with four big goals. Grabner’s open-netter was icing on the cake.
- HEY, HEY HAYES: In a game such as this, the first goal is of utmost importance. Except for the Rangers fans in attendance, the Wells Fargo Center crowd went mute when Kevin Hayes beat Mason to put the Blueshirts on the board. Just to show he meant business, KH did ditto later on with his 13th of the campaign.
- NO DREAD ON THIS LEAD: The notorious “Dreaded Three-Goal Lead” did not disturb the Blueshirts. When Jakub Voracek’s power-play goal cut the Rangers advantage to a pair of goals, the New Yorkers bounced back and restored their three-goal margin. From then on it was game-over.
- FACE-OFF JUMPSTART: The Rangers won a mere 36 percent of the draws and allowed one of Philly’s two goals as a result of a face-off loss.
- SCARY START: While King Henrik was his dependable self in the opening frame, the club could have given him more support for starters. In the end, it was no big deal but it was then.
TURNING POINT: Grabner’s home-tapper gave New York a three-goal lead in the third. From then on the answer to Flyers dreams of a comeback came to Forget-About-It.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: RANGERS AT COLUMBUS ON SATURDAY. GAME TIME 7 P.M. TV: MSG 2.
WHAT THEY SAID:
- HENRIK LUNDQVIST: “What we lacked against Buffalo, we had against the Flyers. It comes down to work and determination. We wanted to prove to ourselves that we were better than we showed when we lost to the Sabres.”
- REPORTER PATRICK MCCORMACK: “Confronting Columbus, the Rangers must follow a similar game plan as they did against the Flyers. The stars have to score and they must play well in their defensive zone. Bottom Line: The Blueshirts must bring their best game to Columbus.”