Late Power Play Crushes Flyers
It seemed inevitable. Two periods of being outpossessed, outshot and outchanced eventually came back to bite the Philadelphia Flyers.
Jason Akeson's double minor penalty in the third period led to two power play goals from Brad Richards and Derek Stepan, which sunk the Philadelphia Flyers in game one by a score of 4-1. With the loss, it extended the team's losing streak at Madison Square Garden to nine games.
What had been such a strength for the Flyers, one of the league's best penalty killing units, failed twice in a short span.
It took several minutes for the Flyers to get their first shot in the game after consecutive dominating shifts by the Rangers. Defenseman Andrew MacDonald rifled a blast from the left point that found its way past a screened Henrik Lundqvist for the game's opening marker.
Scott Hartnell crashed hard on the forecheck, separating the puck from Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Hartnell fed MacDonald for the goal. Afterwards, McDonagh cross checked Claude Giroux, who only played 17:08. His linemates didn't receive much more ice time from head coach Craig Berube.
Flyers forwards generated just a few more sparing scoring chances after that point on Lundqvist, who made 14 saves on the night to pick up the win. While shaky early, the Rangers heavily outpossessed the Flyers, leading to no consistent offensive flow.
Steve Mason continued to recover from an upper body ailment suffered on April 12. Ray Emery picked up the start in his place. He gave up a first period goal to Mats Zuccarello, but aside from that third period meltdown, he made some critical saves. Two of those included ten-bell saves on Dominic Moore and Brian Boyle on consecutive opportunities.
It all came crashing down after repeated turnover after turnover and time spent in the defensive zone.
Jason Akeson, playing in his third-ever NHL game, rushed on the side boards to check Carl Hagelin in the neutral zone. In the process, his stick clipped Hagelin's face, leading to a four minute power play for Broadway.
Richards pounced on a juicy rebound off of a Martin St. Louis snap shot for the first goal. Stepan connected off of a remarkably pretty passing play. Richards found him with a slap pass at the side of the net, leaving Stepan a wide open net to put the game out of reach.
Richards ended the night as the first star with a goal and two assists.
Hagelin put the game away for the Rangers late as penalty after penalty racked up for the Flyers. It proved to be an exclamation point for the Rangers, who outshot the Flyers 13-1 in the third period, and 36-15 for the game.
With Mason's game two start very much in question, and a listless Flyers performance in game one, many questions loom for this Flyers squad which showed very little scoring punch.