Sometimes, hockey is simply explained by running into the hot goalie. The Rangers ran into an unusual one in Anthony Stolarz as he stopped all 38 shots for a 1-0 Flyers shutout at MSG last night. It was the 25-year old Edison, New Jersey native’s night. He delivered many big saves the last two periods to make Oskar Lindblom’s goal 1:40 in stand up for Philadelphia’s second consecutive win in two nights.
There’s really not a whole lot to say. Coming off a nine day layoff due to the ridiculous bye week and All-Star weekend, the Rangers were a little flat at the start. That was enough to lose a game they dominated. After a good first in which they had 12 shots, a tired Flyers had nothing left in the fuel tank. They only mustered seven more shots on backup Alexandar Georgiev (18 saves).
One defensive breakdown with normally reliable forward Jesper Fast botching the coverage on a Flyers extended shift that allowed Lindblom enough time to flip a backhand in, was enough to lose a hockey game. The Rangers outshot the Flyers 38-18 overall, including a ridiculous 25-7 the final two periods. It didn’t matter due to Stolarz, who posted only his second career shutout and first of the season in just his eighth start. It was his 10th appearance. He won for just the third time in ’18-19. In parts of two seasons with Philly, he is up to 5-4-3 in his career with a 2.86 GAA and .909 save percentage.
You get the picture. I decided to break the game down via my YouTube channel. That included some interesting thoughts on David Quinn scratching Pavel Buchnevich for the fourth time this season in favor of Brendan Smith, who even took some shifts as a forward. He nearly scored on one of their best chances late in the third.
In the video below, I highlight the improved play of Chris Kreider as a primary example of a player who took a while to develop into the consistent power forward we see today. I also get into the whole Mika Zibanejad vs Kevin Hayes debate and touch on Kevin Shattenkirk having the worst luck even on his 30th birthday when he learned he’s going to become a Dad. Plus some observations on the All-Star Game and who Blueshirt fans should be excited for in the future.
I hope you enjoyed my first ever live Rangers Vlog. Something I’ll be experimenting with. To follow me on YouTube, I’m kovy274hart.
One note from Tuesday was the unfortunate injury to Brett Howden. A rookie who hit the wall, he was playing his best game in a long time. Shifted to the wing, he nearly scored for the first time since Nov. 12. Now, it looks like he’ll miss some time from what Quinn told reporters. Bad luck for a first-year player who’s never stopped working despite his struggles.
Assuming they go back to the traditional lineup of 12 forwards and 6 defensemen, figure Buchnevich to slot in for Howden and Mats Zuccarello to return if he’s ready. The Rangers are at the Devils in Newark for the first match up between the Hudson rivals at the end of January. More great scheduling. 😛