Rangers’ speed versus Flyers’ size makes interesting playoff matchup

Ryan McDonagh
Ryan McDonagh and Wayne Simmonds will be jostling in front of the net all series long.
Credit: Getty Images

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers’ speed and the Flyers’ size, specifically as it pertains to the real estate in front of Henrik Lundqvist.

“We obviously have to play tight coverage in our zone,” Anton Stralman said of thhe Rangers’ defensemen when asked about the Flyer forwards propensity to create traffic. “Really pack it in and make sure we have numbers in front of [Lundqvist] and ready to box it. They’re a strong team going in there, and they have some big forwards [who] like to play [down low]. The key is always going to be to always have support, if one [gets] burned in the corner we still need more guys in there that can help out.”

Stralman disagreed the strategy would limit the opportunities for the Rangers defensemen to move the puck and join the rush.

“I don’t necessarily think so,” Stralman said. “Our game is playing fast and outnumbering [the opposition] when we have the chance. If the puck is stuck in the corner, make sure we get there quick and breakout clean from that. That way we can limit their offense. Obviously in the neutral zone we have to get through clear and not [commit] any bad turnovers.”

MacDonald rewarded

Work has had its rewards for Andrew MacDonald.

The former Islanders defenseman signed a five-year, $30 million extension with the Flyers Tuesday. Had he not signed, MacDonald was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Instead, he is set to be a key cog on the Philadelphia back end for the foreseeable future.

“Philly was a great spot,” MacDonald said after the Flyers’ morning skate at the Garden prior to Game 1 of the Metropolitan Division semifinal series Thursday night. “A great fit for me. I think it’s obviously great to get rewarded for the work you put in over the years, and I think the Islanders gave me a great opportunity to establish myself. It was a little bit longer than I would have liked with [his first contract with the Islanders] but it gave me lots of opportunity to show what I can do. I really appreciate the [opportunity].”

The Flyers acquired MacDonald from the Islanders on March 4 for a package that included prospect Matt Mangene, a 2014 third-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick.

MacDonald was expecting a trade, and that he was dealt to a team he was familiar with–including former Islanders teammate Mark Streit–has made the adjustment easier.

“Things have been going pretty well,” MacDonald said. “I’m pretty familiar with the team and obviously playing with Mark makes the transition a little bit easier, you know a guy in the room and I knew a couple of the other guys, too, just from weddings throughout the summer. Obviously the familiarity can help, but they put me in a good situation to do well and [head coach Craig Berube] did a great job of getting me prepared, showing me the systems.”

Fast doesn’t practice

Right wing Jesper Fast did not participate in the Rangers’ morning skate, due to what head coach Alain Vigneault termed “maintenance.” In the three games he has played with the Rangers since being called up on April 7, Fast has been on a line with Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.