Still Can't Beat Them: Flyers fall to Rangers 5-2
Last Sunday, the Philadelphia Flyers left Madison Square Garden with their fourth loss of the season to their bitter rivals the New York Rangers.
With only a few moments remaining in regulation and the Rangers leading 5-2, those in attendance at the Garden rose to their feet, began cheering and started a chant of ‘You can’t beat us.’
Fast-forward six days later and not much had changed.
While the venue was different, the result remained the same.
Rangers five, Flyers two.
As the Flyers players left the bench to skate over to escort their goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky off the ice, a large group of Rangers fans could be heard reciting a ‘Let’s go Rangers,’ chant as the dejected fans of the home team made their way to the exits.
However, the similarities didn’t end there.
Much like their last meeting, the game played out in a back-and-forth fashion.
The Rangers opened the scoring in the first period with a goal from Ryan Callahan, and then the Flyers came back with a goal from Wayne Simmonds.
Moments after the Simmonds goal, the Rangers regained the lead with a goal from Marion Gaborik only to have the Flyers tie the game again with a goal from Claude Giroux.
Then, much like the previous meeting, the Rangers pulled ahead with a third goal and put the game out of reach in the final period.
“I don’t like the way we came out in the third period,” Peter Laviolette said. “That fourth goal took the steam out of [the game].”
The Flyers have now lost their last seven consecutive meetings with the Rangers. During that span, they have been held to two goals or less in all seven games.
While the Flyers inability to figure out a way to score against one of their biggest rivals has been a problem, it wasn’t the only reason they left the rink without a win on Saturday.
Special teams problems was the difference between the two teams.
“Obviously it was a tight game but they got three power play goals and we didn’t score any,” Kimmo Timonen said. “So, obviously it came down to our special teams.”
After holding the Rangers scoreless on their first power play opportunity, the team managed to successfully convert their next three opportunities, which ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
In total the Rangers had seven separate power play opportunities.
However, that still wasn’t the Flyers only issue.
Heading into the third period, the Flyers were still alive. Trailing 3-2, the team looked strong when they were at even strength.
In fact, it could be said that the Flyers largely outplayed the Rangers during five-on-five play.
"I think we didn't play that bad, but if we played five on five with them we'd win this game,” Giroux said. “That wasn't the case tonight."
Unfortunately, an old blemish reappeared as the team allowed defensive breakdowns and turnovers to end their shot at a win.
With poor decisions by defenders and forwards alike, the team’s defensive effort (or lack there of) allowed the Rangers to put the game out of reach before the mid-way mark of the period even occurred.
“It comes down to the system, how you execute the system, how do you play every night,” Timonen said. “Sometime you go up and down and then you lose games and that’s not the way the championship teams play."
With many questions swirling, one thing is clear; the Flyers need to find a way to beat the Rangers and they need to find it fast.
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