NHL rivalries throughout the years; it has been the term in hockey that brings out the best match-ups between two teams. Some have stemmed since the original six while others have been born not long ago as the NHL keeps evolving.
The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins have long been a rival since the early days of the NHL, while one of the biggest NHL rivalries of the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins was born in October of 1967.
While that rivalry still runs deep to this day it often overshadows another deep rivalry in the world of orange and black. That rivalry would be the Flyers and the New York Rangers.
Hate runs deep in NHL rivalries
Let’s make no mistake about it. The Flyers and the Rangers have hated one another for over 50 years, stemming from their first meeting on November 16, 1967. Both teams appear to be evenly matched when facing one another with the all time match-up record being 154-152-37 in favor of the Rangers.
They’ve faced off in the playoffs 11 times with the Flyers just edging out the all-time series 6-5.
The last 50 years has also brought some memorable games for Flyers fans. The NHL rivalries just make it better each time they take the ice.
For starters, 13 hat tricks have been scored against the Rangers with Tim Kerr, Simon Gagne, and Eric Lindros all tied with the lead with two apiece. Even Broad Street Bully and the well-known tough guy, Dave Schultz has recorded a hat trick against the Rangers.
The Flyers have also shut out the Rangers on 20 different occasions.
Even with the rare occasion of the NHL penalty shot, the Flyers have eight on the Rangers.
As deep as most rivalries run, this one could be argued as one of the most physical rivalries in NHL history. While the rivalry has seen a plethora of fights, no other could be as memorable as the Flyers/Rangers brawl on October 1, 1985. The game alone had 25 fighting majors and almost 500 penalty minutes.
The game also saw goalies Bobby Froese and Terry Kleisinger square off on one another.
By the end of the game, there were only two skaters left for each team. I also forgot to mention that this game was just a pre-season game.
Despite the close comparison for the past 50 years, the Rangers have gotten the best of the Flyers in recent years.
Beginning in the 2011-2012 season, the Rangers won all six games against the Flyers, including a 3-2 victory in the Winter Classic. The following season, the Rangers again took the season series winning three out of five games.
The Flyers were able to split the season series in the 2013-2014 season.
Both teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs and the Flyers would eventually succumb to the Rangers in a very close Game 7, losing 2-1. In the following season, the Rangers again took the season series 3-1. The Flyers again would lose the 2015-16 series 3-2 as well as lose the 2016-2017 series by a 3-1 margin.
The other factor in the Rangers dominance is that the Flyers can’t seem to solve Madison Square Garden. In the past 15 games played at MSG, the Flyers have gone 3-12. The Flyers are 53-68-23 overall at MSG. Division rivalries are often twice as hard as any other game and are even twice as important when trying to climb in the standings.
If the Flyers wish to turn their current woes against the Rangers, they have to first start focusing on the road games in a very loud MSG.
How do they solve the Rangers?
The Rangers seem to dominate the regular season, but can’t survive a deep playoff run due to fatigue and injuries. The Rangers, though have had a very good off season, signing veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and extending forward Mika Zibanejad.
While most of the Rangers have a core of veterans, they will look to Lundqvist and Captain Ryan McDonagh to lead them next season.
The Flyers, on the other hand, are just coming out of the embryonic stage of a rebuild and are on the brink of seeing a team compiled of rookies hit the ice.
After winning the second overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft and gaining a future superstar in Nolan Patrick, the Flyers are ready to unleash their farm system in Oskar Lindblom, Travis Sanheim Sam Morin who are all poised to make the lineup come fall.
In the reserves, if you will… are young players like Mike Vecchione and Taylor Leier. Make no mistake, once the Flyers hit the ice for that first game against the Rangers on January 16, 2018 (yes we have to wait that long) both teams will be ready to play hard.
The Rangers have always been a tough team to play against. Even if they’re having trouble scoring, they still don’t allow you score so easily on them. Even though he’s getting up there in age Lundqvist or King Henrik as he’s often referred to, is still one of the best goalies in the league.
The Rangers also seem to come to play whenever the Flyers are their opponent.
What are we to expect when the Flyers and Rangers play in January?
We can expect a good physical game, that is for sure. Recently the Rangers have not been too fond of Flyers’ winger Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds was accused of sucker punching the Rangers’ Captain back in 2016 after receiving a cross-check to the head.
Rangers Head Coach Alan Vigneault even called Simmonds a dirty player in the media.
These two teams don’t forget the unpleasantries of one another and it often carries over from game to game to game. With the physicality factor already instilled in the NHL rivalries, the Rangers’ vets will face off against Flyers’ veterans, Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds.
They will also face off against their speedy rookies and seasoned youngsters in Shayne Gostisbehere and Travis Konecny.
It will be interesting to see where both teams land comes January as injuries, slumps, and trades may occur.
If 50 years of history has taught us anything it will be a game that you will definitely want to circle on your calendar.
What do you think of this classic NHL rivalry? Let us know in the comments section below.
Want to share your opinion? Why not write for us?