NEW YORK - Thanks to Anthony Stolarz, the Flyers have their longest winning streak against the rival Rangers in over 34 years.
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Stolarz was magnificent in making 38 saves in a 1-0 victory Tuesday, as the Flyers won their sixth straight over the Rangers and third in a row at the Garden.
It's the Flyers' longest winning streak over the Blueshirts since posting 11 straight victories from March 17, 1984, through Dec. 7, 1985.
The Flyers have also won five straight games overall for the longest active win streak in the NHL.
Here are my observations from Madison Square Garden:
• Defensively, the Flyers were in disarray for much of the first period and were busy chasing the Rangers' quick, elusive forwards from below the dots. Travis Sanheim had a slow start with some poor passing and a tripping penalty on Chris Kreider.
Speaking of Kreider, no Flyers defenseman could put a body on the Rangers' winger, who had all sorts of puck possession time and countless scoring chances. Outside of Ivan Provorov, I thought the Flyers' blue line really struggled in the first 40 minutes.
• Credit to this Flyers team over the course of its current five-game winning streak, it has committed to doing the little things no matter how painful. Collectively, the Flyers have blocked a lot of shots with sticks and shin pads and have been very disruptive in breaking up a lot of plays in the defensive zone.
• Kreider should have nightmares of Stolarz, who was phenomenal in his first start in over six weeks. He battled, taking away the lower part of the net while utilizing his size and range to cover New York's cross-ice and backdoor plays.
In one sequence, Stolarz stuffed Kreider with his right pad and then denied Kreider's one-timer attempt from the slot with his left pad. Arguably, his best save of the night.
• After observing Stolarz through 40 minutes, Rangers analyst and former NHL goaltender Stephen Valiquette believed the area to beat Stolarz is under the glove and blocker. Valiquette's observation was that Stolarz holds his hands up high, leaving a sizable gap underneath his hands where he's susceptible to goals.
• I thought the Flyers would take advantage of a shorthanded Rangers lineup. New York elected to play 11 forwards and seven defensemen, and once the Rangers lost forward Brett Howden, they were essentially down to three lines. In fact, coach David Quinn, who usually calls out lines by saying just the center's name, was forced to call out the entire line.
• Oskar Lindblom may have provided the game's only goal, but even outside of that, I thought he was the Flyers' best forward. He was strong on the forecheck and created what little offense the Flyers had in this game.
Lindblom had a pair of shifty, thread-the-needle passes that led to a 2-on-1 scoring chance and an open look for Sanheim. He also led all forwards with four shots on net.
• Once again, more proof that teams just don't like physical play any longer in this league. Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei lost control of the puck and had his head down when Christian Folin leveled him with a legal hit. Folin was instantly met with blue shirts who took exception to a clean hockey play. Good to see the referees make the right call by sending off Boo Nieves for roughing.
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