One secondary assist and one goal later, he left the game as 1 of only 5 active NHL players with 1000 points to his name–1 of 6 to wear a New York Rangers uniform while doing so–and 1 of 81 players in NHL history to have reached this milestone.
“I got a chance to play 1000 games last year, and that was really special to me. Now to get 1000 [points], it’s a great accomplishment…I’m proud of that,” said St. Louis after the game. “Do it on a win, do it on a goal, I think that makes it special, and the boys really played well tonight.”
The Rangers (10-8-4) defeated the Flyers (8-11-3) 3-0 in Philadelphia in the first game of this home-and-home set. While the Rangers took control offensively, goaltender Cam Talbot continued his hot streak against Philly, tallying his second shutout in as many starts and extending his shutout streak against the Flyers to 156:27 over three games. The Rangers have now registered shutouts in three of their last four games, and they lead the NHL in total shutouts so far this season with six.
The Rangers shot out to a 1-0 lead in the first period with a power play goal by Dan Boyle at 6:10, assisted by Derek Stepan and St. Louis. This was St. Louis’s 999th point as well as one of Stepan’s three primary assists on the night.
St. Louis, who would later receive First Star of the Game accolades, reached his milestone in the opening minutes of the second. As the Flyers struggled to establish possession in their own zone, the Rangers took advantage of several Philadelphia turnovers and attacked the net. Four minutes into the period, Chris Kreider centered the puck to Stepan. Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was able to block Stepan’s shot, but St. Louis was there to convert the easy rebound and give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. And with that goal, St. Louis officially joined the ranks of the elite.
From the opening puck drop, New York set the quick pace of the game, and they utilized their speed to push the puck up the ice and maintain offensive possession at key moments. The Rangers also had a handful of shorthanded opportunities, including early breakaway chances by Carl Hagelin and Jesper Fast, which ultimately culminated in a 3-on-1 shorty goal by Rick Nash in the third. Nash’s goal rounded out the scoring and put New York up 3-0 with 14:30 left to play. Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, back on the ice for his first game since being injured earlier this month, added the secondary assist on Nash’s sixteenth goal this season.
“It’s always a tough road when you’re injured…so to be here today and to feel I made a good contribution, a little bit of an impact, it’s a good start,” said McDonagh.
The captain added that this win was a true team effort: “You see our fourth line taking hits to make plays, and the penalty killing stepped up huge, and the power play got us going, so [contributions from] a lot of areas and obviously a great goaltender for us tonight in Talbot.”
The Rangers and the Flyers will continue their rivalry with a game tomorrow at Madison Square Garden. As New York looks to continue their shutout success, Philadelphia hopes to break a 3-hour on-ice scoring drought against New York.
Here’s to another great chapter in this storied rivalry.