Swept: Flyers fall to Rangers, 5-3
It’s been a long time.
For the Philadelphia Flyers, it has been over 13 months since they last beat their division rivals to the north, the New York Rangers.
Following Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss, the streak will continue to another year as the Rangers completed the season series sweep against the Flyers.
The Flyers have now lost eight consecutive meetings against the Rangers, seven of which occurred in regulation.
Despite coming off an impressive come-from-behind win on Sunday against another division opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in addition to the return of their star goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, the team failed to jump on the Rangers regardless of a spirited start.
Off the opening draw, the Flyers had a head full of steam.
They dominated play and appeared as though they were ready to win their first game of the year against the Rangers.
However, a goal from Ryan McDonagh put that thought to the back burner as the Rangers opened the scoring 6:25 into the game.
Five minutes later, Brian Boyle added to the lead.
Seven minutes later, Artem Anisimov added insult to injury with an amazing breakaway goal that came on a power play as well as a delayed penalty call.
In addition to undressing the Flyers defense, Anisimov also drew a four-minute high-sticking penalty against Pavel Kubina and nullified the power play the Rangers were on, which allowed the delay penalty to be called.
Confusing? Yes. Effective? Ohhhhhh yea.
The result was a 5-on-3 power play that lasted only 36 seconds because Ryan Callahan managed to tap home the Rangers fourth goal of the period.
Ultimately, the game was over before the final horn of the first.
The Flyers managed to score two goals in the second, one from Jakub Voracek and another from Wayne Simmonds, but the Rangers added another goal in between when Marion Gaborik rifled a blistering shot from the slot.
In the third, Scott Hartnell deflected an Andreas Lilja point shot to pull the Flyers within two at the midway mark of the period.
In the end, it was too little, too late.
For the Flyers, the season series sweep means little.
"Pretty much the whole season is over,” Ilya Bryzgalov said when asked if the season series meant anything if the two teams happen to meet later down the road in the playoffs.
“Everybody has their own places and playoffs are new...zero to zero,” he added. “Everybody has a zero in the columns."
In his first game back, Bryzgalov looked rusty.
At times his lateral movement was not as strong as it had been, but it was nothing too alarming. For the most part, his defense didn’t do much to help him out.
As the game went on he looked more comfortable and made some good stops.
Ultimately, his performance was nothing to worry about.
What is becoming worrisome, though, is the way the Flyers continue to allow their opponents to gain the lead early in games.
Despite the Flyers strong start, the Rangers still managed to take the early lead.
It’s something that the team cannot allow to happen in the playoffs.
“You’re really messing with fire by going down,” Peter Laviolette said. “We’ve got to be crisper. There’s things that we could have done in the first period to prevent goals [. . .] you’re not going to win a lot of hockey games going down by that many goals.”
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