The New York Rangers are looking to build some steam for a playoff push. Philadelphia was the perfect place to start.
Rick Nash scored twice, Derek Stepan had a goal and three assists, and New York extended its dominance of the Flyers with a 5-2 win Tuesday night.
Brad Richards and Chris Kreider also scored for the Rangers, who have won 11 of the last 12 meetings with Philadelphia.
"We’re building some momentum," Nash said. "We don’t look at the standings, we just try to worry about ourselves. It sounds so cliche, but that’s what we need to do. Just try to get better, build off this, and keep moving up."
John Tortorella became the 30th coach in NHL history to reach 400 wins, and his team maintained its hold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
"We need to continue to do things we do well, and I think we’ve been defending pretty well," Tortorella said. "We need to stay with that. And I just think we have good people. And sooner or later, they’re going to snap out of it. We’re in a sprint here, and I hope it happens quickly."
Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek scored for Philadelphia, which lost for the third time in four games against New York this season and fell further out of the playoff race. The Flyers began the day in 13th place, five points behind the Rangers.
"It’s a disappointing night," coach Peter Laviolette said. "We needed to compete better than we did."
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said it comes down to the effort of individual players.
"We’ve got to find better effort across the board," he said. "It comes down to one-on-one battles. It was all Rangers. They were hungry, they were better. It comes down to individual preparation. You’re either ready to play or you’re not."
New York went ahead 3-0 with just more than 14 minutes left in the second period when Stepan scored on a backhander. Nash dumped the puck toward the net and found a wide-open Stepan, who deked Ilya Bryzgalov and had an empty net in front of him.
"All night I felt that we played the way we wanted to," Stepan said.
Just 2½ minutes earlier, Richards beat Bryzgalov high to the glove side on a one-timer from the point on the power play, giving the Rangers a 2-0 advantage.
"The rest of the games from here on out, you know it’s crunch time," Stepan said. "We’ve got to continue to find ways to win games."
Philadelphia netted its first goal with 2:07 left in the second period when Simmonds scored from close range on the power play to pull the Flyers to 3-1. Voracek’s initial shot from the point went off the post and to Claude Giroux, who redirected it in front of the crease to Simmonds.
Then the Flyers closed to 3-2 at 7:28 of the final period when Voracek scored on a deflection in front of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Bruno Gervais won the faceoff back to Giroux, who one-timed it off Voracek and past Lundqvist, who finished with 32 saves.
But the Rangers answered just more than two minutes later when Nash scored his second of the night on a wraparound. Assists went to Carl Hagelin and Stepan, pushing New York’s lead back to two goals.
"This is a game where a lot of guys felt really good about what they did and where they’re at," Lundqvist said. "That’s huge for us."
The Rangers struck first with 5:06 remaining in the opening period when Nash’s wrister from the slot beat Bryzgalov high on the stick side.
"One team was ready to play and they want to win the game and the other team not so much," Bryzgalov said. "They always find a way to beat us."