‘Not so much here or here' — JVR feels the pain as Flyers deliver the pain this time


They call Madison Square Garden the world's most famous arena.

For James van Riemsdyk on Thursday night, it was the most painful.

Painful yet fulfilling.

The Flyers beat the Rangers, 3-2, on the back of a two-goal performance from van Riemsdyk.

JVR will feel the win Friday morning before taking the ice at MSG later that night. His first goal ricocheted off his face and tied the game at 1-1 in the second period. After leaving the game briefly for evaluation and X-rays, van Riemsdyk returned early in the third period and scored the go-ahead goal right back in front of the net.

Despite suffering losses by margins of 9-0 and 8-3 to New York, the Flyers (21-18-7) improved to 4-2-1 against the Rangers. Jakub Voracek scored a clutch goal with under six minutes left to give the Flyers a two-goal cushion at 3-1. The tally ended up serving as the game-winner.

Thursday night marked the Flyers' first trip back to MSG since the team suffered that 9-0 embarrassment there on March 17.

The Rangers (23-18-6) have fallen further out of the playoff picture like the Flyers, who are now three points behind fifth-place New York in the East Division.

• Some serious toughness and professionalism from van Riemsdyk. Everyone knows van Riemsdyk as a pro and this was another example of why.

Before van Riemsdyk's goals, the Flyers were not looking too good. But he takes one off the face to knot things up, leaves to get checked and hurries back to hand the Flyers the lead.

Impressive stuff from a veteran who loves that blue-painted area. No way you could keep him away from the crease.

"That's where he scores all his goals," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said postgame. "Most of his goals are second opportunities in front of the net, tip-ins, screens — that's where you score the goals. You've got to get in front of that net, near that blue paint. He certainly understands that. When he's on top of his game, he's doing that extremely well."

Van Riemsdyk pulled out a money "Tommy Boy" reference postgame when he was asked about the exact location of the shot and ensuing pain.

"Not so much here or here, right here," van Riemsdyk said with a laugh. "It more shocked me I think more than anything. When you get hit like that, especially when you're not really expecting it when it's a deflected puck, it catches you off guard a little bit. Just happy that it's all good and was able to come back and try to help the team."

Both of van Riemsdyk's goals came on the power play. He leads the club in points (37) and goals (16) this season. The Flyers, who have had some difficulty scoring goals in April, needed van Riemsdyk big-time Thursday night.

"He took one for the team," Vigneault said.

• Wade Allison continued to play a noticeable and active game with three shots and two hits. He looks comfortable on the power play, as well.

Ivan Provorov had two assists in 22:18 minutes.

Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes were all tough in the faceoff circle and played well.

• Brian Elliott was busy in net for the Flyers with 33 saves on 35 shots. He made 13 of those stops in the first period to keep the Flyers in it.

"Early on, I thought there was one guy that was sharp and that was Moose," Vigneault said. "Brian was excellent. He made some big saves. ... Moose permitted us to find our execution."

He also robbed 2019-20 Hart Memorial Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin in the second period with a highlight-reel glove save.

Panarin made things interesting with two minutes left in regulation when he beat Elliott on a blast to trim the Flyers' lead to 3-2. The Flyers then closed the door.

New York netminder Igor Shesterkin has dropped three of his four starts against the Flyers this season. He made 33 saves, as well.

• The Rangers came in scoring 4.50 goals per game against the Flyers, with eight of their 27 markers coming on the power play.

On Thursday night, the Flyers' penalty kill went 3 for 3, but New York scored its first goal just as a first-period power play had expired. Brendan Smith did the honors with a shot through traffic.

• The Flyers and Rangers are right back at it Friday night in New York to wrap up their eight-game regular-season series.

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