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Wild Affair at The Garden Ends Up as 6-5 Defeat for Flyers

(Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

In a game where the Philadelphia Flyers desperately needed the two points, they battled back on numerous occasions in the third period but fell in overtime to the New York Rangers by a score of 6-5.

Scott Laughton opened the scoring early in the second period before Ryan Poehling doubled up the lead. Mika Zibanejad scored a late power play tally in the second period which then opened the floodgates because the Rangers scored two early third period goals from Jonny Brodzinski and Alexis Lafrenière to give them a 3-2 lead.

Travis Konecny tied it up before Vincent Trocheck reclaimed the lead. Owen Tippett then tied things up before Lafrenière reclaimed the lead again. Tyson Foerster then tied things up once more, sending the game to overtime, where Adam Fox ended things 36 seconds in.

Samuel Ersson struggled to the tune of 6 goals on 27 shots while the Flyers finally got to Igor Shesterkin but he still managed the victory and made 35 saves on 41 shots.

The Washington Capitals also defeated the Detroit Red Wings in overtime to come within one point of the Flyers for the third spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Whether you looked at it as 10-game gauntlet or a 7-game gauntlet, tonight’s game against the Rangers is the final stop and the Flyers would’ve loved nothing more than a victory against their bitter rivals. After an emotional victory on Saturday against Boston, the Flyers disappointingly fell to the Florida Panthers the following night in a game where they thoroughly outclassed and outplayed one of the best teams in hockey. John Tortorella’s presser was noteworthy as he refused to answer a question thrown his way about Felix Sandström‘s performance but later apologized to the media and the player.

Jamie Drysdale and Nick Seeler were spotted at morning skate today but they were not quite ready just yet, meaning the Flyers walked into Madison Square Garden with an unchanged lineup. Denis Gurianov, Cam Atkinson, Nicolas Deslauriers, and Marc Staal remained in the press box and Samuel Ersson earned the start, looking for his 22nd win of the season. With the Washington Capitals breathing down their necks, two points were absolutely necessary.

As for the Rangers, they are as hot as anyone around the NHL right now, coming into tonight’s game on an 18-4-1 stretch that included a run of 10 straight wins at one point. Not only have they gone 7-2-0 in their last 9 games, they sported a 9-0-1 record in their last 10 against the Flyers, and with a victory tonight they could clinch a playoff spot.

Offensively, they were led by Artemi Panarin‘s 43 goals and 99 points, followed by Vincent Trocheck‘s 69 points, Chris Kreider‘s 65 points, and Adam Fox’s and Mika Zibanejad‘s 61 points. Igor Shesterkin unsurprisingly earned the start, looking to improve on his 30-15-2 record as well as his career marks against the Flyers, which were astounding at 7-3-1 with a 1.98 GAA and .940 SV%.


With 2:18 remaining in the period, Adam Fox was found guilty of taking the first penalty of the game after he hooked Tyson Foerster who was heading towards the net. The fourth ranked penalty kill of the New York Rangers made easy work of the Philadelphia Flyers power play, restricting them to 2 chances from the outside.

The Rangers started out with 5 of the game’s first 7 shots before the Flyers finished the period on a 13-4 run in the latter half. They created more of the dangerous chances, they didn’t allow the Rangers to breathe in the neutral zone, and came relatively close to scoring the game’s first goal after Bobby Brink jumped on a loose puck in the slot but Igor Shesterkin shut down the attempt.


The Flyers’ strong start to the game continued into the second period after Scott Laughton opened the scoring just 2:58 into the middle frame. The Flyers caught the Rangers snoozing on a bad line change before Travis Konecny located a streaking Scott Laughton just outside of the blue-line as he walked in and wired a shot top-shelf past Shesterkin for his 13th of the season.

As we reached the midway point of the period and the game, the Rangers took their second penalty of the game, courtesy of a tripping minor against Vincent Trocheck – the 2nd penalty that Foerster had drawn. With 25 seconds remaining on the penalty, Ryan Poehling doubled the Flyers’ lead after redirecting a one-touch pass from Laughton in the blue paint with his 10th of the season. Egor Zamula received the secondary assist after finding Laughton in the corner. It was also the third consecutive game where the power play connected.

Just as the Rangers broadcast was clamouring for their club to find their legs, Foerster was called for a high sticking minor in the neutral zone with 5:20 remaining in the period. The top unit struck courtesy of a hard snap shot from Mika Zibanejad from his the faceoff dot for his 15th goal and 10th power play tally in his last 19 games against the Flyers at the 15:28 mark.

The Rangers came back to life after their power play tally, but fortunately the Flyers were able to quell their rushes before the horn sounded to end the period. With a 2-1 lead, the Flyers also held a 27-18 edge in shots through 40.


Just 83 seconds into the third period, Jonny Brodzinski wired a shot high-blocker past Ersson from the slot to tie the game up. Kaapo Kakko attacked Erik Johnson on the dump-in and corralled the puck before setting up Brodzinski, who was unmarked in the slot for his sixth of the season. He was set to be in the press box but made his way in the lineup after Alexander Wennberg was a late scratch.

As is the case in almost every Rangers-Flyers game, the floodgates open once they score the first goal. Alexis Lafrenière’s initial shot was blocked, Zibanejad swiped at the rebound that brought the back into the blue paint, and there was mass hysteria around the goaltender before Lafrenière jumped on the loose puck for his 21st of the season. The second Rangers goal in 1:34 prompted John Tortorella to take a timeout immediately afterwards.

With the Flyers floundering and the Rangers buzzing, Travis Konecny jumped on a ricochet from a bad angle shot that allowed him to jump on an odd man rush alongside Owen Tippett before ripping it low-glove past Shesterkin at the 6:45 mark. Konecny’s 31st of the season came at a very opportune time with the Rangers completely taking over after their power play tally late in the second.

With 11:22 left in regulation time, Zac Jones was found guilty of a high-sticking minor against Morgan Frost. 56 seconds into the power play, Konecny couldn’t handle a pass from Tippett before the puck left the zone in a hurry. Konecny then fell in the neutral zone as he tried battling against Trocheck, who jumped on an odd-man rush with Zibanejad and finished off the one-time play for his 25th of the season.

The Tippett-Frost connection struck again after the latter noticed the former zipping down the ice to tie the game up again. Frost shoveled a pass that landed right on Tippett’s tape before he backhanded it off the post and in off the goaltender with 8:10 remaining for his 26th of the season.

Konecny, who got hurt in the previous shift remained on the ice, blocked a shot off the ensuing faceoff and went down in a heap, but the puck landed right on Lafrenière’s tape as he ripped one past a befuddled Ersson from the faceoff dot with 6:01 left.

The Flyers then tied it up again after Foerster cleaned up the garbage in the blue paint. Garnet Hathaway‘s initial attempt was stopped but the puck was bouncing around before it was stopped just before the red-line. Fortunately, Foerster stuck with it and tucked it home for his 19th of the season with just 3:32 left in regulation.

After a wild third period where both teams combined for seven goals, we headed to overtime. The Flyers held a 41-26 edge in shots through 60 minutes.


For whatever reason, Tortorella started Noah Cates and Poehling up front, and it ended as you would imagine with the Rangers scoring only 36 seconds into the extra frame. Adam Fox wired a shot from the point that beat Ersson low-blocker for the win.


The Flyers head north of the border to face off against the struggling Montréal Canadiens on Thursday night (7:00pm ET, NBCSP).

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