The last time the Flyers went to the playoffs, it took a win over the Rangers on the season's final day to lock in their spot. Flyers captain Claude Giroux proceeded to cap off a career year with a hat trick in a win.
Friday's game doesn't lock the Flyers into anything just yet, but it was another statement that this team continues to put together solid games within the division and draws closer to solidifying their spot. Giroux was a big player in that result again, scoring twice in the Flyers 5-2 win over the Rangers.
The Rangers got off to a quick start and used a skill play by their strongest line to grab the early lead. Artemi Panarin hit Jesper Fast with a stretch pass and Fast went in on a partial break. Fast took a shot that Carter Hart stopped with the glove. The rebound fluttered in the air and Fast was able to knock it in with his stick to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 2:49.
As the period progressed, the Flyers started to generate chances and with 3:53 to play, the top line got on the board. Jake Voracek came from behind the net and set up Sean Couturier for his 20th goal of the season to tie the game at one.
Through 20 minutes, shots were 16-8 Flyers.
The Rangers had a lot of the early chances in the second period as well, but the Flyers really dominated the period and finally grabbed the lead with seven minutes to play.
Off a rush, Nicolas Aube-Kubel fired a shot on goal that was stopped by Alexandar Georgiev. The rebound shot over to James van Riemsdyk, who buried it into an open net to give the Flyers the lead.
Just over two minutes later, Giroux got in on the scoring, firing a one-timer past Georgiev to make it 3-1.
Through two periods, the Flyers had a commanding 29-18 lead in shots.
Early in the third, the Flyers power play got involved and it was the captain providing the offense again. Giroux was planted at the side of the net, and the Flyers completed a quick passing play by getting the puck to the front where Giroux was able to tip it home to make it 4-1 with his second goal of the game and 19th of the season.
With just over seven minutes to play, former Ranger Kevin Hayes put the icing on the cake. Following a Rangers power play, Scott Laughton carried the puck up the ice, losing control as a Rangers defender slid across. The puck sat behind for Voracek, out of the penalty box, and he set up Hayes for a one-timer and his 22nd goal of the season to make it 5-1.
The Rangers got a late goal from Brett Howden with 25.3 seconds remaining to cap the scoring.
Hart finished the game with 26 saves in the win. Georgiev had 35 saves in the loss.
In addition to Giroux's two-goal game, Couturier finished with a goal and an assist and Laughton had a pair of assists. Voracek finished with four assists in the game.
The Flyers and Rangers will meet again for the back end of this home-and-home on Sunday afternoon at noon.
- NYR Jesper Fast (12) (Artemi Panarin) 2:49
- PHI Sean Couturier (20) (Jake Voracek, Ivan Provorov) 16:07
- PHI James van Riemsdyk (19) (Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Scott Laughton) 13:00
- PHI Claude Giroux (18) (Couturier, Voracek) 15:05
- PHI Giroux (19) PP (Voracek, Travis Konecny) 2:36
- PHI Kevin Hayes (22) (Voracek, Laughton) 12:56
- NYR Brett Howden (9) (Adam Fox, Pavel Buchnevich) 19:34