By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
James van Riemsdyk's first goal of the game between the Flyers and New York Rangers on Thursday night was certainly earned the hard way. A shot by Travis Konecny hit a stick and went straight into the face of van Riemsdyk before bouncing into the net. That tied the game up at one in the final five minutes of the second period. Immediately, van Riemsdyk headed off the ice for repairs.
Amazingly, van Riemsdyk returned to the game, and then picked up the go-ahead goal with another deflection, this time with the stick, on the power play, helping the Flyers grab a 3-2 win over the Rangers.
The Rangers controlled most of the first period, and it helped them get the first goal of the game at about the mid-point of the period.
Just seconds after the Flyers killed off a penalty, Brendan Smith fired a shot that beat Brian Elliott clean, making it 1-0 Rangers at 9:55.
Despite the domination from the Rangers in that opening period, shots were relatively even at 14-11, in favor of the Rangers. Elliott was outstanding from there, making several saves on high-danger chances.
Early in the second period, the Rangers continued to apply the pressure, but the Flyers ultimately got the game tied on their fourth power play of the night. Konecny's shot from the right circle hit a Rangers stick and went off the face of van Riemsdyk, bouncing down in the crease behind Igor Shesterkin and going into the net to make it 1-1 with 4:04 remaining in the period.
With under a minute to play in the second, Joel Farabee got a penalty shot after being taken down on a breakaway. He did not score though, so the game went to the third period tied at one.
Just over eight minutes into the third, the Flyers got a four-minute power play and took advantage in the second half of the double-minor. Off a shot by Ivan Provorov, it was van Riemsdyk in his office again to deflect the shot and score, giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 10:29.
Less than four minutes later, the Flyers took advantage of an odd-man rush. Jake Voracek kept control and fired a shot high over Shesterkin, using Claude Giroux as a decoy on the rush, making it a 3-1 game with 5:53 to play.
The Rangers were able to get the goalie pulled with 2:04 to play and scored immediately off a face-off. Mika Zibanejad won the draw back to Adam Fox, who quickly got the puck over to Artemi Panarin for the one-timer to cut the Flyers lead to one.
In the final moments, the Rangers were not able to get the equalizer, as the Flyers held on for the win.
Elliott made 33 saves in the win. Shesterkin stopped 33 shots in the loss.
In addition to van Riemsdyk's two goals, Provorov also had a pair of assists in the win.
The two teams get right back on the ice in less than 24 hours, facing off again at 7 p.m. on Friday night.