Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey. It was a case where circumstances dictated a stalwart defensive effort in order to win.
The Rangers were able to absorb the Flyers’ second period onslaught Tuesday night due in part to a strong shot-blocking effort. The Rangers blocked 14 shots in the second period, and 28 for the game.
“Throughout the season, whenever there’s a chance to block a shot we’re still going to block a shot,” Derek Dorsett said. “We aren’t goaltenders out there by any means, but if we can get in a lane and get a shot blocked before it gets to [Henrik Lundqvist] then guys are going to do it. … We have a lot of guys who are willing to do it, too.”
The Rangers were outshot 32-23 — including 13-4 in the second period — yet the only goal allowed was Mark Streit’s first of the playoffs at 17:18 of the first which cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1.
“Give Philly credit: They had the puck,” head coach Alain Vigneault said after the Rangers’ practice Thursday morning at the Garden in preparation for Game 4 Friday night in Philadelphia. The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1.
Still, spending scads of time in the defensive zone against an opponent who average 2.83 goals per game in the regular season isn’t a formula for success.
“Because they had the puck so often we had to block more shots,” Vigneault said. “I’m hoping we can set a faster pace to the game and go north-south a little bit quicker. If we can do that then we’ll be better. … Momentum is a big part of games; it’s a big part of [the] playoffs.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.