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For the third time in their last four games, the Philadelphia Flyers offense was shut down and held to one goal. This time it was the New York Rangers, blocking 20 shots holding the Flyers to only 22 shots on goal.
The only change coach Dave Hakstol made up front after the last game was to the fourth line. He didn't entrust the fourth line to much ice time last game, so he removed Jordan Weal and Sam Gagner, and put Matt Read and Scott Laughton back in the lineup. This group didn't see much more ice time, although the chart above shows a more scattered statistical spread among forwards that I recall for the Flyers in quite a while. Everyone's numbers are all over the place.
Part of the reason for the spread was also an eventful first period. The Rangers carried a grudge against Wayne Simmonds for a perceived cheap-shot sucker punch against Ryan McDonagh in the last game between the games. The result was Simmonds and Ryan White each getting into fights right at the beginning of the game. This ate into their ice time and led to some 4v4 play, on which the Rangers scored.
The Claude Giroux line has cooled off after being on fire recently. This will happen, but without Sean Couturier to lead the second line, the Flyers are desperate for goals. It's hard to have much faith that any of the other three lines are going to add much offense right now.
Tonight marked the first game in which the Flyers had to deal with the injury to Michael Del Zotto. They called up Andrew MacDonald and paired him with Shayne Gostisbehere, but it didn't go so well. MacDonald and Ghost tried to match up with the Rangers top-six forwards, but MacDonald had the worst 5v5 possession figures on the team. He was also on the ice for all three Rangers goals; one at 4v4, one on the power play, and one at 5v5.
Gostisbehere only had marginally better possession numbers, but the silver lining is that he extends his point streak to 12 games. It went right down to the wire, but he registered a secondary assist with 9.7 seconds left.
Without Del Zotto, the Flyers deployed their three pairs pretty equally in terms of opposition. I expect we'll see this continue as the pairs don't really have a clear pecking order. Perhaps the other story of the evening was the return of Evgeny Medvedev. As is so often the case with him, he put up great possession figures. Paired with Radko Gudas, they rose to the top in 5v5 ice time as well. Maybe this is one pair that will rise in prominence as the Flyers shuffle their defense lineup after the injury.
Marc Naples is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter@SuperScrub47.