It sure wasn’t pretty, but given the wild playoff race the Flyers will take two points just about any way they can get them right now.
Travis Konecny gave the Flyers a 5-4 lead with less than five minutes left in the second period that they’d never relinquish and Alex Lyon made 25 saves on 26 shots in relief of Michal Neuvirth as the Flyers outlasted the Rangers 7-4 on Sunday afternoon.
It was a wild day that included three fights in the first period and 11 combined goals. In the end it was the Flyers skating away with an important win over the beleaguered Rangers.
Tough start for the Flyers as Kevin Hayes tips home a point shot 1:30 in to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Hayes parked in front of Michal Neuvirth and got his stick on Ryan Sproul’s lazy wrist shot.
The Flyers are 13-14-6 when allowing the first goal this season.
New York’s lead wouldn’t last too long as Andrew MacDonald found the back of the net off a Rangers turnover in their own zone to tie things up at 1-1 just 3:23 later. Jori Lehtera’s forecheck cause an Anthony DeAngelo turnover, and MacDonald used a screen to beat Henrik Lundqvist with a an unsuspecting shot. Valtteri Filppula and Jori Lehtera picked up assists on MacDonald’s fourth goal of the season.
Lehtera ➡️Filppula ➡️MacDonald pic.twitter.com/6puLgxhONm— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 18, 2018
Back came the Rangers quickly, but Neuvirth robbed Grabner with a sprawling save to bail out poor defensive coverage and keep things even.
Neuvirth wouldn’t be so lucky on the next chance, as Rick Nash corralled a rebound on the doorstep to give the Rangers the lead back at 2-1 with 9:06 left in the period. Brady Skjei’s shot glanced off Neuvirth’s pad and right to the waiting stick of Nash for his 18th of the season.
Surely it was one the Flyers’ netminder would like to have back, but fortunately for Neuvirth his mates had his back and picked him up quickly. Ivan Provorov put a point shot towards the net and Scott Laughton was there to re-direct it past Lundqvist to even things back up at 2-2 at the 12:11 mark. It’s Laughton’s 10th of the season, with Provorov picking up the lone assist.
Scott Laughton ties this game at 2! pic.twitter.com/JWOMno8mtq— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 18, 2018
Bad blood followed as Dale Weise and Cody McLeod engaged in the third fight of the period, joining the Gostisbehere/Buchnevich tussle and the Wayne Simmonds/Anthony DeAngelo tilt earlier in the period.
After playing from behind twice, the Flyers decided to start playing with a lead. Brandon Manning followed a quick rush up ice and fired a wrist shot past Lundqvist to give the Flyers at 3-2 lead with 5:07 left in the first. It’s Manning’s fifth of the season, assisted by Travis Konecny and Claude Giroux.
BRANDON MANNING PUTS THE FLYERS ON TOP 3-2! pic.twitter.com/BzLvHrW3iZ— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 18, 2018
After the Flyers were given a power play and a chance to take a two-goal lead, it was instead the Rangers who found the back of the net. A Michael Raffl chance went high and wide and led the Rangers in on a two-on-one with Mats Zuccarello beating Neuvirth off a nice feed from Peter Holland.
It was a wild first 20 minutes with six goals and three fights, but in the end both teams started the period the way they began it: tied.
Alex Lyon led the Flyers out for the second period, relieving Michal Neuvirth, who was revealed to have a lower-body injury (he would not return to the game).
Nolan Patrick would continue the rapid scoring pace, opening the scoring in the second with a beautiful rebound tip past Lundqvist to make it 4-3 Flyers just 2:01 in. Patrick grabbed his own rebound on the backhand and lifted it neatly up and over the Rangers’ netminder for his sixth of the season.
The Rangers would respond with 14:13 left in the period on a Peter Holland goal to once again knot things up, this time at 4-4. Lyon made a great initial save on JT Miller and then Cody McLeod on a rebound, but the Flyers’ defense couldn’t box out Holland, who stuffed it home.
Lyon stared to settled in with a pair of dandy stops on Zuccarello with eight minutes left in the frame. The rookie went post-to-post on both stops and denied the Rangers of a go-ahead goal.
Lyon’s saves would prove huge, as the Flyers would take the lead with 4:20 left in the period on a wicked wrist shot from Travis Konecny. Konecny wheeled past the circle and then ripped his 15th of the season past Lundqvist.
TRAVIS KONECNY WITH THE SNIPE— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 18, 2018
5-4 FLYERS. pic.twitter.com/Cf2WWrFUa4
JT Miller would try the glove side with 1:54 left, but Lyon came up with another huge stop to deny the Rangers. Lyon was solid in his other relief appearance, but struggled in his lone start earlier this year.
The Flyers’ backup netminder would continue his strong work early in the third, stopping Nick Holden in close at the 16:10 mark.
With 10:37 left Claude Giroux would extend the Flyers’ lead to 6-4, capitalizing on a two-on-one with Travis Konecny and beating Lundqvist high to the glove side. It was also a big career marker for the captain, the 200th goal of his stellar career.
Claude Giroux snipes a magnificent goal for his 200th goal scored in the NHL. pic.twitter.com/okH0yZXfnk— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 18, 2018
A little extra insurance never hurts, and Jori Lehtera would provide the Flyers a 7-4 lead with his first of the season off a broken play in front of the Rangers’ net.
Jori Lehtera scores his first as a Flyer.— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 18, 2018
Cue the chicken dance song. pic.twitter.com/Ikxn2FeQQc
Lehtera’s goal with 7:14 left would prove to the the final scoring on what was a wild afternoon affair at Madison Square Garden. It would be the Flyers to outlast the Rangers and earn two more huge points in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race.