Flyers Cling to Late Lead, Beat Rangers 4-3

(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

The Philadelphia Flyers relied on the production of their top six and the goaltending of Alex Lyon as they survived a bout with the New York Rangers, 4-3.

By Dan Heaning, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

As the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves looking up at the top three in the division and now looking behind them to maintain a playoff spot, the Orange and Black were able to slay a familiar demon in the New York Rangers, 4-3, to keep pace with the other bubble teams in the Eastern Conference.

The team's top six powered the victory with Claude Giroux's 3-assist night coupled with Travis Konecny scoring twice and Jake Voracek's goal and two assists.

However, it was Oskar Lindblom's second NHL game that would give the Flyers two-goal cushion they needed. As the final frame began, Nolan Patrick won the opening draw. After getting the puck back from his defensemen, Patrick rushed into the zone for a quick chance. However, Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev couldn't control the rebound and waiting in front to deposit the loose puck was Lindblom just eight seconds into the period.

The Philadelphia 4-2 lead was cut to one just 80 seconds later as Jesper Fast scored his second goal of the game after Alex Lyon could not control a Rob O'Gara shot from the point. Fast found the disc just outside the crease and backhanded it by the Flyers netminder.

Despite giving up three goals, Alex Lyon was superb in net particularly in the second and third periods when the Rangers fired over 30 shots on the Yale alum. Some of Lyon's best saves came in the third period as Philadelphia's hold on the 4-3 lead became more tenuous by the second. The best of the night may have been Lyon's diving save on Chris Kreider in the final frame. Lyon stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced.

Konecny notched his second goal of the game just over eight and a half minutes into the second after the Flyers continued to pressure the Rangers in the New York zone. As Giroux pushed the puck to the point, Radko Gudas let a slap shot go. Konecny sneaked into the crease area behind two Rangers defenders and deflected the Gudas shot to put the Flyers up 3-1.

After a pair of minors on Mika Zibanejad and Matt Read, Giroux won the faceoff back to Sanheim was able to get the pass out of the Flyers zone and through to Giroux. The Flyers captain then swung a cross-ice pass to a streaking Voracek. Voracek then split the defense of Brady Skjei and Ryan Sproul, but as Voracek passed the two blueliners, Sproul's stick caught Voracek's feet and Skjei appeared to grab hold of the Flyers winger. The result was Voracek lifting the puck over Georgiev's glove hand as Voracek fell to the ice.

Fast cut the Flyers lead to 3-2 after his centering feed bounced off Ivan Provorov as Alex Lyon missed catching the puck with his stick and it careened past his left pad.

The Rangers knotted things up in the first as Fast's neutral zone pass nearly escaped the stick of Konecny. As Konecny lifted his head skyward, the red-hot Zibanejad carried the puck the rest of the way. Zibanejad took advantage of some awkward positioning by Gudas and skated around the burly defenseman's stick check while sliding the puck through the legs of Lyon.

Konecny opened the scoring after he intercepted a Neal Pionk pass in the neutral zone. Konecny then passed the puck off to Giroux who then moved the disc to Andrew MacDonald at the point. MacDonald found Konecny inside the circle by the boards. Konecny then made a move to the slot and froze Pionk to escape a potential blocked shot. The Flyers forward then roofed the snapshot over the glove of Georgiev.

With the win, the Flyers stay on pace with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who defeated the Florida Panthers tonight by a score of 4-0.

The Flyers will return to action on Sunday when they go into Pittsburgh for a critical 12:30 matinee against their rivals, the Penguins. The game will be televised on NBC with radio coverage on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Box Score

  1 2 3 T
Rangers 1 1 1
Flyers 1 2 1 4

Scoring Summary

1st Period

  • PHI -  Travis Konecny (21, 7:56) from Andrew MacDonald (12) and Claude Giroux (62)
  • NYR – Mika Zibanejad (26, 13:53) from Jesper Fast (17) and Neal Pionk (12)

2nd Period

  • PHI -  Jake Voracek (19, 3:46) from Claude Giroux (63) and Travis Sanheim (7) 
  • PHI -  Travis Konecny (22, 8:38) from Radko Gudas (12) and Claude Giroux (63)
  • NYR – Jesper Fast (12, 17:03) from Ryan Sproul (4) and Chris Kreider (20)

3rd Period

  • PHI -  Oskar Lindblom (2, 00:08) from Nolan Patrick (15) and Jake Voracek (62) 
  • NYR – Jesper Fast (13, 1:28) from Rob O'Gara (2) and John Gilmour (3)

Game Statistics

  Flyers Rangers
Shots 36 36
Power Plays 0/2 0/2
Hits 17 19
Faceoff % 50% 50%
Giveaways 13 8
Takeaways 3 5
Blocked Shots 21 10
Penalty Minutes 6 6
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