I’m really not sure why Rangers fans were so baffled with the Blueshirts loss to the Flyers Sunday afternoon at MSG considering they hadn’t won a Game 2 on home ice since beating Vancouver in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994.
Yes, you read that correctly, the Rangers haven’t won a Game 2 at the World’s Most Famous Arena in 20 years.
So what’s the best remedy for home struggles? Going on the road of course.
The Rangers were the epitome of road warriors this year as they set a franchise record with 25 wins away from the Garden, which was tied for second most in the NHL.
They were 8th in the NHL with 111 road goals and 3rd in road goals allowed with just 99.
For the fancy stat crowd, the Rangers had the 7th best road Corsi % (shot attempts for compared to against) with a 50.7% as well as the 6th ranked road Fenwick (unblocked shot attempts for compared to against) with 51.1%.
Here’s Vigneault on what’s made the Rangers so successful away from home (via NHL.com)…
“If you look at our road record, we have that because we continue to play the same high-tempo, north-south type of game and rolling the lines quickly,” Vigneault said. “There are certain matchups that we are looking for. There are certain we don’t want. Once we’re in the flow and the guys are playing well and executing well, sometimes you’re not as concerned about matchups as you are pace and tempo.”
The road was also the setting of three of the team’s most memorable and unlikely victories this season.
October 26, 2013 – Sitting at 2-6-0 and their season on the cusp of spiraling out of control before even playing a home game due to the MSG renovations, the Rangers put together a spirited effort at Joe Louis Arena, which resulted in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Red Wings on a Derrick Brassard breakaway winner. What seemed all but certain to be a 2-7-0 season opening road trip turned into 3-6-0 and two weeks later the Rangers were above .500.
November 16, 2013 – With the Rangers still floundering around the .500 mark, a visit to their House of Horrors (aka the Bell Centre) seemed like a guaranteed loss for the underachieving Blueshirts. However, behind the superb goaltending of Cam Talbot the Rangers held on for a 1-0 victory, their first win in Montreal since 2009.
March 16, 2014 – With the Rangers dropping into one of the dreaded wild card positions after losing three of four at a crucial time of the season, a visit to the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, where the Blueshirts have a notoriously tough time playing, seemed like a tall order. But behind their biggest offensive output of the season, the Rangers defeated the Senators 8-4 lifting them back into third place in the Metropolitan Division while catapulting them to a 9-2-2 finish to the season and home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
Now, I’d be remiss if I failed to remind everyone that the Rangers were 0-2-0 at the Wells Fargo Center this year, while being outscored 6-3. In the Blueshirts defense, the first loss was during that disastrous nine-game season opening road trip, while the second defeat was Henrik Lundqvist’s first start after the Olympic break. So, the Flyers caught them at very opportune times.
While tonight’s Game 3 in Philadelphia may seem like a daunting task, the reality is the Rangers have the Flyers right where they want them.