The Flyers peppered Henrik Lundqvist with 39 shots, but only rookie Travis Sanheim could solve the New York netminder as the Flyers fell 3-2 to the Rangers on Monday night in the first of a home-and-home series between the two rivals.
Michal Neuvirth matched Lundqvist shot for shot until he left a juicy rebound out front for Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh to punch home to seal the game with just over a minute left in the extra period.
Once again, the Flyers’ special teams let them down in this one, going 0-for-5 on the power play after an 0-for-9 performance in Boston last Thursday. The Flyers also gave up a power play goal, but did kill off the Rangers’ last five power plays on the evening.
Rick Nash opened the scoring early with a power play goal on a deflection on a point shot to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at the 3:16 mark. Pavel Buchnevich and Ryan McDonagh got the assists on the opening goal. Radko Gudas was in the box for a holding call after dragging down a Ranger near center ice.
The Flyers would respond quickly with an absolute bullet from Travis Sanheim, who took a nice pass from Nolan Patrick to lead him to open ice and fire a slap shot by Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game at 1-1. Patrick and Jordan Weal got the assists on the goal, which came at four-on-four.
Travis Sanheim scored another goal tonight, his 2nd in two games. pic.twitter.com/0I81NtMDlc— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) September 25, 2017
After a terrible power play effort against the Bruins last time out (0-for-9) the Flyers generated nice puck movement on their first man-advantage of the night following the Sanheim goal.
Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek got in on a two-on-one near the six-minute mark, but Giroux couldn’t hit the net on the return feed, though it looked like Lundqvist was beaten. It was nice execution but Giroux did seem a little surprised Voracek sent the puck back to him off his initial pass so that could have effected the shot.
This passing play from Couturier → Giroux → Voracek was almost perfect pic.twitter.com/BhAaejtGyn— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) September 25, 2017
After killing off a Michael Raffl penalty with 1:21 left in the first the Flyers began to buzz in the Rangers' zone with Travis Konecny and Jordan Weal giving the Rangers’ defense the runaround. Weal, after dangling away from a defender, was stopped in close by Lundqvist to keep the score even after one.
After a three-penalty first period, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol couldn’t be happy when Jake Voracek picked up a slashing call just 20 seconds into the second. On the ensuing power play Michal Neuvirth absolutely robbed Rick Nash in close with a sprawling save, one of three from the netminder on the kill.
With Chris Kreider off for tripping the Flyers’ second power play unit generated some nice pressure with Konecny and Weal once again hooking up for a scoring chance. Weal hit Konecny in the slot with a quick pass, but Lundqvist made a strong pad save and covered.
The Giroux line created another nice chance on an odd-man rush with Gostisbehere jumping up on the play but unable to jam home a centering pass from Voracek. Giroux started the play by taking a loose puck of the wall in his own zone and racing up ice. That same group would pin the Rangers in their own zone for the better part of a minute at the five minute mark, but the Flyers could only manage distance shots that didn’t challenge Lundqvist.
Wayne Simmonds nearly slammed home a backdoor feed on the Flyers’ third power play of the game, but Jake Voracek’s pass sailed off Simmonds’ stick with the net wide open. The Flyers only generated a single shot but carried momentum over into the final minute of the period.
With just 3.1 seconds left in the second and the Flyers still surging, Travis Sanheim found a loose puck in front of Lundqvist and buried his second goal of the game to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead heading to the third. The rookie defenseman showed great instinct to jump into the offense and the skill to finish the play on his backhand past Lundqvist.
HOLY TRAVIS SANHEIM!!! pic.twitter.com/OoMGFQs868— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) September 26, 2017
Through two periods the Flyers again dominated in the face off circle, winning 20 of 31 draws after winning 45 of 66 against the Bruins last Thursday.
With the Flyers under siege to start the third they got a bad break from the officials, who took Nolan Patrick off for high-sticking at 1:25, when replay showed it was a Ranger who high-sticked Marc Staal in the face and not the Flyers’ rookie forward. The Flyers would survive the ensuing power play, though, killing off their fourth consecutive penalty after Rick Nash’s opening power play tally.
After a Flyers turnover in the neutral zone by Ivan Provorov the Rangers would tie things up at 2-2 with a Mika Zibanejad tally at the 5:29 mark. Chris Kreider and Buchnevich picked up the helpers on the game-tying goal.
Not a nice goal here by Robert Hagg. pic.twitter.com/jr7YyyqrjR— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) September 26, 2017
The Flyers wasted a golden opportunity to retake the lead when Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux got in on a two-on-none in on Lundqvist. The pair made one too many passes, though, and saw a prime chance go by the wayside because neither one really wanted to shoot the puck yet again.
Tempers would flare after Radko Gudas laid out Fillip Chytil in the neutral zone. Gudas caught the Rangers’ rookie with his head down and didn’t miss. After Neuvirth stopped play the players came together as the Rangers asked Gudas to answer for the hit.
Following another strong penalty kill the Flyers would buzz around Lundqvist looking for the go-ahead goal. Voracek, Patrick and Giroux racked up zone time and a few stuff attempts at the Rangers net but couldn’t convert.
Despite a late flurry from the Flyers, part of 37 shots on in regulation, Henrik Lundqvist proved up to the test with saves on Provorov, Robert Hagg and Simmonds to send this one to overtime.
In the overtime it was a show from the goaltenders with Lundqvist and Neuvrith matching their opposite number shot for shot until Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh was able to beat Neuvirth off a rebound at the 3:51 mark of overtime to give the Rangers the 3-2 win. Fillip Chytil and Mats Zuccarello got the assists on the game-winner.
Next up: Flyers vs. Rangers, 7 p.m. from the Wells Fargo Center tomorrow night.