Ten random observations from the Flyers’ 4-2 win Saturday night over the New York Rangers (see Instant Replay).
1. How lucky is Steve Mason? Derek Stepan’s dump-in from center ice took a curious bounce and slid past him seconds after the game began — but he was absolutely gifted with a do-over when the play was ruled offsides. Mason, though, picked up the pace after the goal was called off. He was particularly impressive in the third period (see story).
2. Michael Del Zotto’s strong play continued Saturday, when he scored what was the Flyers’ second short-handed goal of the year. It was the third of Del Zotto’s career, though, and his first since 2012-13. Del Zotto appears to be a gamble of a signing that’s paying off.
3. Matt Read was not having a good night. Early in the first period, he missed an open net and moments later passed to no one and had to chase after the puck in the offensive zone. He made up for it, though, with the Flyers’ first goal of the night — just his sixth of the season. Read is still in the midst of a disappointing season, but it’s encouraging to see him press hard and get rewarded with a goal.
4. This game had shades of last year’s playoffs in a few ways — but especially in the Rangers’ success in shot blocking. The Flyers, especially early, had some really good chances, but it seemed like there was always a Rangers defender getting in the way.
5. Last weekend, the Flyers’ power play was very solid on home ice. Saturday night, not so much. In fact, the Flyers were dreadful on the man advantage.
6. Vinny Lecavalier looked pretty good in his first game in the lineup since Feb. 19. He had a couple good chances, registered an assist on Michael Raffl’s goal and certainly had some jump in his step. He held onto the puck a bit too long at times, though.
7. The Wells Fargo Center ice has a reputation as one of the best surfaces in the NHL. The Center, however, hosted a three-hour long scrimmage and skills clinic as part of Willie O’Ree Skills Weekend earlier Saturday — and the conditions suffered. (O’Ree, the first Black player to play in the NHL, was in the building for both the morning skate and the game.)
8. Mark Streit was at his best late in the second period. If you have any way of going back and seeing replays, watch his pass to Jakub Voracek as the second ticked down toward 0. Streit had stripped Chris Kreider of the puck in the Flyers’ zone and sent the puck directly onto Voracek’s stick. It was a beauty, even though it didn’t result in a goal.
9. The Flyers showed the white-and-gold/blue-and-black dress on the big screen and asked fans to chime in via text on what colors they believed it to be. The crowd booed. No offense to the ArenaVision team, but I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of Flyers fans than I was at that moment.
10. It seems like Flyers-Rangers games in Philadelphia are always so close and hard fought. So many, it seems, come down to a single goal. So why can’t this Flyers team ever pull out a victory at Madison Square Garden?