NEW YORK – The National Hockey League gave the New York Rangers a reason to give thanks over this past holiday weekend as they scheduled a home-and-home matinee games with the Philadelphia Flyers who played like turkeys.
The two wins were a needed boost for the Blueshirts who so far this season have not played like the team that went to the Stanley Cup Final six months ago.
The Flyers were so awful at the Wells Fargo Center last Friday that the home crowd started booing early in the first period and never let up. They were a pathetic 0 for 6 on the power play. The Rangers added insult to injury on the last Flyers’ power play.
Even though they had one less player on the ice because of Chad Kreider’s four-minute penalty for high sticking, the Rangers nailed a shorthanded third period goal as Rick Nash scored on a three-on-one breakaway to put the puck past hapless Flyers goaltender Steve Mason. Flyers fans exited in droves at that point.
If a professional athlete is going to play in sophisticated cities as New York or Philadelphia then it’s imperative that he be candid with the media. Flyers captain Claude Giroux was certainly that when he was asked about the incessant booing that cascaded through the Wells Fargo Center rafters. “We’re playing like crap and we deserved it,” he answered forthrightly.
The mood was a lot more upbeat in the Rangers locker room. Future Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis scored a goal which turned to be his 1,000 career point in the NHL. I asked the 38 year-old alternate Rangers captain if it would be tough playing back-to-back 1 PM games since NHL players tend to be nocturnal. “Absolutely. On the other hand, it is nice to have your evenings free for a change,” St. Louis said.