The Flyers showed little effort in a loss to a less superior game…somebody stop the record from skipping.
On Sunday afternoon in front of a national TV audience, Philly's lack of heart resulted in a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers. Thanks to 32 saves by Henrik Lundqvist and a shootout goal by Wojtek Wolski, the Flyers lost their third straight game today to their Atlantic Division rival.
In such an important game, it was key for the Flyers to send an early message. With Brandon Prust trying to stir things up early, Sean O'Donnell decided to set things straight dropping the gloves with him 45 seconds in. The fight seemed to give the Flyers some jump early on.
Looking for more ice time, Nikolay Zherdev helped his case with a huge third period assist on Jeff Carter's goal last game. Today, Zherdev's play led to another Flyers' goal.
Along with Claude Giroux and O'Donnell, Zherdev's cycling in the offensive zone led to James van Riemsdyk's 21st goal on the season. As Giroux passed the puck to O'Donnell at the point, JVR moved to the front of the net. Working off of an O'Donnell blast from the point, JVR banged home one of his multiple rebound attempts to give Philly a 1-0 lead 12:25 into the game.
Late-period penalties cost the Flyers the lead at the last possible second. With Matt Carle sitting in the box for hooking and Braydon Coburn joining him for high sticking, Bryan McCabe found a way to beat Sergei Bobrovsky to tie the game. Thanks to his slapshot with seven-tenths of a second left in the period, McCabe's 5-on-3 goal changed the face of the game entering the second.
The Rangers started off the second period with 1:26 left on the power play due to Coburn's penalty. Philly's defenseman didn't pay for his mistake as the Rangers couldn't register a goal with the time remaining on the power play.
Over halfway through the period, the Rangers saw their first lead of the day. Vinny Prospal tried to curl around the Flyers' net and though he lost the puck, it slid into the slot where Ruslan Fedotenko made his former team pay yet again with his 10th goal of the year 13:30 into the middle period.
Unfortunately, Fedotenko couldn't celebrate the goal for long as he was laid out cleanly by Coburn at the red line on the following shift. Not accepting the abuse, Brian Boyle decided to fight Coburn in defense of Fedotenko. Coburn made him pay for his actions by winning a long, drawn out battle.
Entering the final period, the Flyers still had a shot to win the game despite showing no effort or desire to be on winning side.
Speaking of effort, somebody who has been showing a lot of it lately has been Zherdev. As Giroux entered the zone with the puck along the boards to Lundqvist's right, he stopped at the bottom of the circles to center the puck Zherdev who put home his 16th of the season. The goal tied the game at two 4:32 into the final period.
End-to-end action for the remaining 15 minutes of regulation yielded no goals as the game entered overtime tied at two. It's the first game the Flyers have gotten a point in since Tuesday's win in Pittsburgh.
Dominating the entire overtime period, the Flyers couldn't find the game-winning goal. The shots were the same in the extra five minute, but most of the play took place in the Rangers' defensive end.
Opening the shootout, Zherdev was stoned by Lundqvist as he let a wrist shot fly from the slot. Erik Christensen put it past Bob as the netminder tried to poke check it from the ensuing Ranger.
Looking to equalize it, Giroux was poked check by Lundqvist putting the result of the game on Wolski's stick. Deking Bobrovsky into submission, Wolski scored to give the Rangers the additional point.
The absence of Chris Pronger has affected the Flyers greatly. Inability to convert on the power play and lack of urgency throughout entire games are aspects of the game that are costing the Flyers wins at the worst time of the season. Pronger, evidently, is the only Flyer who can run the power-play unit. Along with the power play, Pronger can slow down the game and pick up the team when needed. He'll be back for the first game of the playoffs.
The Flyers last three games are against the Senators (2-1-0 against), the Sabres (2-1-0 against), and the Islanders (5-0-0 against).The Sens are 5-4-1 in their last ten games while the Sabres are 6-2-2 (disregarding their result with Carolina). The Flyers have strong records against all these teams, but the way they've been playing lately the Flyers couldn't beat many teams across the league.
Notes: Dating back to Kris Versteeg's empty net goal on February 20th, the Flyers went 73:11 without a goal against New York until JVR's first period goal…Bobrovsky has allowed five goals over his last three starts; he's 1-1-1 in those games…Zherdev's power-play goal in the third ended the Flyers 0-for-11 span with the extra man advantage…Filling in for Nick Boynton, Danny Syvret had no points with a blocked shot in 14:48 time on ice. Blair Betts didn't play the third period due to a lower body injury…Today is Bernie Parent's 66th birthday…The Flyers went 4-1-1 against the Rangers in the 2010-2011 regular season and are 16-4-3 against the Atlantic division (PIT 4-1-1, NYR 4-1-1, NJD 3-2-1, NYI 5-0-0).