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Shesterkin Makes 39 Saves, Rempe Scorers Game-Winner as Rangers Take Down Flyers, 2-1

(Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

It was just one of those games between the Philadelphia Flyers and their bitter rivals in the New York Rangers. After a spirited bout, the Rangers walked away with the two points and their franchise record-tying 10th straight victory as they escaped the clutches of the Flyers with a 2-1 win.

Alexis Lafrenière opened the scoring midway through the second period before Tyson Foerster responded back in his return to the lineup in the first few minutes of the third period. Matt Rempe, who had a raucous fight in the first period against Nicolas Deslauriers, scored the eventual game winning goal – his first career tally.

The Flyers threw everything including the kitchen sink towards Igor Shesterkin but were unable to find the back of the net in the latter half of the third. Morgan Frost had a golden opportunity on the power play, but his one-timer went wide and then Sean Couturier could have tied the game with just five seconds left but his crease opportunity smacked the post.

Shesterkin made 39 stops for his 25th victory of the season while Samuel Ersson was the hard-luck loser as he stopped 22 of 24 shots fired his way.

The Flyers are embarking on a very important back-to-back set as they first welcomed the Rangers into the confines of the Wells Fargo Center before having to play their cross-state rivals in the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon. The Rangers have leaped far ahead of the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division standings, where they sit firmly in the number one spot, but today’s matinee provided the Orange and Black with a strong test as they enter the home stretch of the regular season.

They had to do it without Travis Konecny,who pulled out of practice yesterday with an undisclosed “minor upper-body” injury and is trending towards missing tomorrow’s game as well, but in his stead, Tyson Foerster returned from his multi-game absence. John Tortorella reverted back to the 11/7 formation, meaning Marc Staal remained in the lineup while Samuel Ersson earned the start after a 21-save performance earned him his 16th win of the season on Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.

As for the visiting Rangers, they entered today’s game riding a nine-game winning streak, which has helped them separate from the pack as they sat in first place ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes – who had won four straight of their own – by six points. Over their nine-game stretch, the Rangers outscored their opponents 39-18 but had been out-shot and at times dominated with subpar analytics.

Igor Shesterkin, who was given the nod today, had struggled for a large part of the season but had whipped up 5 consecutive victories while posting a brilliant .945 SV% and a 2.00 GAA. On the season he came into today’s contest sporting a 24-12-1 record with 1 shutout, a 2.74 GAA, and a .907 SV% – a far cry from his previous seasons.

Offensively, they are paced by the usual suspects in Artemi Panarin who was leading the club with 32 goals and 78 points, followed by Chris Kreider’s 29 goals and 54 points, Vincent Trocheck and Mika Zibanejad with matching 54-point seasons, and Adam Fox with 37 assists and 46 points in just 47 games.


3 minutes into the game, Nicolas Deslauriers dropped the gloves with rookie Matt Rempe in what might have been the most spirited bout we have seen in a very long time. The 6’8″ rookie had the size and reach advantage but the Flyers veteran earned the takedown after a rock-em-sock-em affair that last nearly 45 seconds. It was Rempe’s 3rd fighting major and 27th penalty minute of the season in just his 4th game.

Alexis Lafrenière was assessed the game’s first minor penalty as he hooked Travis Sanheim in the Flyers’ end with 12:18 remaining in the period. Only 21 seconds into the man advantage, Joel Farabee was given an interference minor because the referees believed he didn’t allow Igor Shesterkin to grab his loose stick.

After coming out of the box, Farabee was able to draw a penalty this time on former Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson for high-sticking at the 10:48 mark of the period. Unfortunately, the Flyers had issues setting up and creating chances with the full 2 minutes.

The period came to a close with the Flyers leading on the shot clock at 18-9 and as both clubs head into the locker room scoreless, it was the first time since February 15th that the Rangers were held without a goal in a single period.


Farabee’s tough game continued as he was called for a high sticking minor against Adam Fox just 51 seconds into the period. The Flyers penalty kill that entered today’s game inching closer to the number one spot in the league didn’t give the Rangers 5th ranked unit any space, keeping the game scoreless.

8:47 into the period, Garnet Hathaway was assessed a double minor for sticking but it was a way for the referees to be able to review the call to see if it was a follow through. The review was short and the Rangers were given a 4-minute opportunity to break the scoreless game.

Scott Laughton rang a hard shot off the iron just 16 seconds in and the Rangers took 100 seconds just to set up in the offensive zone as the Flyers penalty kill was on a whole different level in the first half of the double minor.

Samuel Ersson’s first real test came with 1:40 remaining on the penalty and he absolutely robbed Lafrenière with an in-tight opportunity as he outstretched his pad to make the stop. 30 seconds later, Artemi Panarin nullified the final 70 seconds with a holding minor after the Flyers set out on yet another offensive rush.

On the very next shift, Lafrenière sniped a hard shot through Ersson’s five-hole with 8:04 remaining in the period. It started with a good setup by Vincent Trocheck in the neutral zone before he dropped the feed to Lafrenière, who walked in before firing through with his 17th of the season.

The Rangers dominated the Flyers up until that goal was scored as they held a 9-1 edge in shots on goal and 19-6 in shot attempts. The Flyers were reawakened in the latter half of the period with plenty of offensive zone time but with very little shots to their name. The Rangers headed into the intermission with the lead and had a 10-5 shot advantage in the middle frame.


The Flyers came out of the intermission with a bang and were able to tie the game on their 6th shot of the period at just the 2:36 mark. Scott Laughton hustled to gather the puck behind the net before setting up Tyson Foerster with a wrap-around pass attempt as the rookie scored his 11th goal of the season upon his return from a four-game absence.

6:31 into the third, the Rangers reclaimed their one-goal lead after Braden Schneider’s point shot was deflected off of Barclay Goodrow and through the five-hole of Ersson. Rempe looked to have scored the goal as it seemed it went off his skate and in, but Goodrow was awarded the goal. Several minutes later they gave the goal back to Rempe, who claimed his first NHL tally – unfortunately for Goodrow, he remains goalless in 41 games.

Shortly after, Sean Couturier was assessed a high-sticking minor with 11:02 remaining. Sanheim jettisoned on a breakaway shorthanded but was stopped on his deke attempt. Laughton was trailing behind but Sanheim kept looking back before making his shot attempt as the Flyers were given a great opportunity to tie things back up.

With 4:03 left to play, the Flyers were handed a golden opportunity to tie things up as K’Andre Miller was assessed a high sticking minor. The power play lacked urgency and opportunity before Jamie Drysdale created a scoring chance out of nowhere but Morgan Frost’s one-time attempt went wide.

With 15 seconds left on the power play and 2:18 in regulation, the Flyers took a timeout and pulled Ersson for the extra attacker. With 5 seconds left on the clock, Couturier had the opportunity to tie the game but he backhanded his crease-front opportunity off the near post, securing the Rangers’ franchise-tying 10-game winning streak.


The Flyers finish off the back-to-back set against their cross-state rivals in the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow afternoon on the road (3:30pm ET, TNT/Max).

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