Only three games were on the NHL schedule for Wednesday including the rivalry night feature of the Flyers visiting the Garden to take on the Rangers.
In Minnesota, the Vancouver Canucks welcomed several injured players back to the lineup and promptly defeated the wild, 5-2.
“We were opportunistic,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said. “We still have a lot of things to continue to work on as we go through the next couple of weeks here, but we’re breathing. That’s the most important thing, and we found a way.”
David Booth had two goals in the win.
“It was good to get a lead at the start,” Booth said. “We know this team doesn’t give up much. But when you get a lead they have to take more chances. We didn’t generate a ton of shots but we capitalized on the ones we did.”
The game turned on a penalty kill in the second period after Tortorella called a time out.
“I don’t know if it helped not, but I just don’t think we were totally there,” Tortorella said.
Eddie Lack got the win in the Canucks’ net making 29 saves on 31 shots.
For the Wild, it was a difficult loss considering they felt they outplayed Vancouver all night.http://
“Weird game, weird game, that’s for sure,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “It was weird in the sense that we were getting chances, we’re outshooting them by a fairly large margin, but it still didn’t feel right.”
In Manhattan, the visiting Philadelphia Flyers were looking to jump over the Rangers into second place in the Metropolitan Division. Instead, their old nemesis, Henrik Lundqvist, blocked their path and backstopped the Rangers to a solid 3-1 win.
“Obviously, it’s huge. They’re a team we could match up against in the playoffs,” said Rangers forward Derek Dorsett, who scored the game’s first goal. “You want to set the tone for that. They’re a team that comes hard and plays a physical game. I think we match up pretty well.”
The game had its edge as expected in any match-up between these two teams but there was a decided lack of urgency in the Flyers skates in the middle frame.
“I didn’t think in the second period we were nearly intense enough or strong enough on the walls or did enough little things out there,” Philadelphia coach Craig Berube said. “They checked well, they were on us, and we kind of just let it happen. Not enough fight tonight.”
This was a grinding effort from the Rangers who benefited from a big game from their fourth line players.
“That fourth line is a big, grinding line. When they find ways to contribute, like they have the past couple of games offensively, it makes our team that much better,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “They wear the other team’s defensemen down. It’s real good for us.”
Derek Dorsett and Dominic Moore scored for New York giving the Rangers the offense they needed.
Ryan McDonagh added a goal in the second on a writer from the left circle that beat Flyers goal Steve Mason high in the corner.http://
It was McDonagh’s 14th of the year and earned praise from his coach after the game.
“He’s got to be getting some consideration for the Norris [Trophy] the way he’s playing offensively and defensively,” Vigneault said. “He’s playing against the top line, he’s defending extremely well, and when he gets an opportunity to go on the offense like tonight, he does. He’s been one of our best players this year.”
In Calgary, the visiting Ducks needed a two-goal third period rally to defeat the Flames, 3-2.
The Ducks are in the strange mode of chasing a team this year, the San Jose Sharks, after being chased most of the year. They now trail the Sharks by two points in the Pacific Division.
“Sometimes games in hand aren’t worth anything unless you win them,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When you get into that next bracket at 101 points, it looks a lot closer than being 99 to 103. Now you’re two points back and you’ve got two games at hand and you’ve got to take advantage of it, but it’s a good start to the week.”
For Calgary, it was a difficult loss given the Ducks resurgence in the final frame and their own lack of energy.
“That’s the way you learn sometimes, too,” said forward Brian McGrattan. “You learn from tough losses. There’s going to be games throughout the year where you’re in the game and a couple lucky bounces with an open net and they get the win. Our group hasn’t given up all year. We’re in every game and work our butts off right until the end and that’s a good sign.”
Jonas Hiller made 32 saves in the win and was not really haunted by his previous performance for the Ducks in Calgary, a 7-2 loss.http://
“The whole team was upset with what happened last time,” Hiller said. “I didn’t feel I played terribly or whatever but those things happen and it’s nice if you get a chance pretty quick to do better and definitely happy with the way we responded and the way I responded.”
Minnesota 2 Vancouver 5
NY Rangers 3 Philadelphia 1
Calgary 2 Anaheim 3