There are many interconnected reasons for the Rangers’ recent strong play. But the simple explanation is Henrik Lundqvist and the one-thing-leads-to-another improvement in his play.

“It’s me playing my game, which is deep and patient waiting for the puck,” Lundqvist said. “When you win a couple of games, of course, you gain some confidence. When you have more confidence, you’re more patient and when you’re more patient, you make more saves.”

Lundqvist made 17 first-period saves, 14 more on the third period and 37 total as the Rangers, thanks to a three-goal first period with scores 28 seconds apart, beat the Flyers, 4-1, in a chippy Metropolitan Division rivalry game Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers (24-20-3), who vaulted past the Flyers (23-19-4) and Capitals into second place, have beaten the Flyers in 12 of their past 15 regular-season games as former Flyer Dan Carcillo, playing his third game for the Rangers after being acquired from the Kings, completed two-thirds of a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal and a fight.

They are now 8-2-1 since Dec. 22 and Lundqvist is 5-1-1 as he’s started seven of the past eight games, allowing three or fewer goals in all but one start.

“He talked about being a little bit more patient,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “I’m just focused on one thing with him – stopping the puck. How he does [it], I don’t really care that much.”

Meanwhile, the Rangers have at least one power-play goal in five straight games as they went 1-for-5 against the Flyers and were particularly strong along the boards and in winning one-on-one puck battles.