Rangers perseverance continues with season-long road trip in rearview mirror
Another hurdle cleared for the New York Rangers as their surprising season at the top of the standings continues.
A two-goal third period on Saturday lifted the Blueshirts to a 3-2 victory over the dismal Philadelphia Flyers – seven-game losing streak – to complete their five-game road trip of the nearly two-week season. on a winning note and with a track record (3-2).
“We talked about it. Coming out of that trip above .500 would be really nice,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said. “You always want to win every game you play, but there was a lot going on for our team. More than at any other time this year.
Even more impressively, they picked up a victory in Philadelphia after flying to New York from San Jose, where they faced the Sharks, just a day earlier before making a quick stop in the city of brotherly love. .
“The long flight, the guys had half past five [on a plane], you arrive at 7 p.m., come back here and play the next day,” added Gallant. “They played hard, they played a consistently good hockey game, they played 60 minutes and I was really proud of everyone tonight. We competed and we played well, and everyone contributed.
Rangers managed to play their final two games of the road trip while dealing with constant roster turnover triggered by a minor COVID outbreak that spread through its ranks. This included players like Gallant, goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin, Ryan Reaves, Alexis Lafrenière and Barclay Goodrow.
“It just seemed like it was a guy every day,” Gallant said. “But they fought, they found a way. The guys on the taxi team were called up and played some good hockey for us.
The win moved the Rangers back to first place in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes. Admittedly, the Hurricanes have played four games less than the Blueshirts.
Either way, it was a Rangers side that had limited expectations now firmly in a playoff spot halfway through the 2021-22 season. They have won six of their last eight games, had at least one point in eight of their last 11 games and scored points in 23 of their last 31 games (20-8-3).
“The resilience of this group, I think we have a lot of confidence in everyone that’s playing,” All-Star defenseman Adam Fox said. “Somebody get called out, somebody get down with COVID, it’s that kind of year. You can’t really dwell on the loss of a guy, I think you have to react.
“This road trip, it was like we lost a guy every day. I think we reacted well to that, just a nice way to end the road trip.