Hey, this was a fun one!
The Philadelphia Flyers came into tonight’s game against the New York Rangers looking to carry over strong play from the third period in Tuesday’s game in Detroit, and they absolutely did, this time in a much-needed win against a division rival. The Flyers looked dangerous from start to finish, and aside from a few defensive breakdowns, they played a solid game as a whole. Claude Giroux notched three assists on the night, Travis Konecny scored two goals, and Alex Lyon would stop 33 of 36 shots to edge out a 4-3 win.
This team... they just love to be confusing.
Alex Lyon, he'll rob you blind. pic.twitter.com/sFiw8YuJYJ— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 23, 2018
The first couple minutes of the opening period didn’t look promising; the Rangers immediately created some offensive pressure in the Flyers zone, even drawing a penalty early on at 1:56. That’s not how we wanted to see this game start, but when do the Flyers ever do what we want them to?
With Jordan Weal in the box for hooking, the Rangers would take the first power play of the game. The Flyers’ penalty kill did a solid job to hold them off, however, continuing the strong play from the past few games. There wasn’t really a moment you felt the Rangers looked dangerous enough to score; Matt Read in particular stayed aggressive on the puck, and for once my blood pressure didn’t even spike.
The first real offensive push by the Flyers would come almost immediately after the power play ended, five minutes into the first. Nothing would come of it right away, but they started to flash some creative offense early on, setting the tone for the rest of the period.
Alex Lyon started off strong at the other end, coming up with decent saves to keep the game scoreless, namely an excellent play that saw him sliding over quickly to deny Namestikov of an open net. Lyon’s play has only been getting better, and games like this show that he is a viable option for the Flyers on this stretch. Also, he has a sweet face. I just wanted to get that off my chest.
A flurry of offensive activity in the Rangers zone, including a few good looks from Scott Laughton up close, culminated in a beautiful (stunning, gorgeous, alluring) goal by Travis Konecny at 7:56. That is his 21st of the year. Anybody else willing to lay their life on the line for this dude? If not, don’t speak to me, I don’t wish to know.
Travis Konecny with a snipe! 1-0 Flyers. pic.twitter.com/RkvR5UutME— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 22, 2018
The Flyers continued to push hard in the Rangers zone, but the game-tying goal would come off a missed pass intended for Konecny on the other end of the ice. Mika Zibanejad wasted no time with the puck, going five-hole on a surprised Lyon who just couldn’t come up with a save there. Tied game at 13:53 in the first.
To their credit, the Flyers didn’t even look fazed by that goal. They responded immediately with more pressure on the Rangers, looking close to scoring several times before the clock wound down. We all love the fatalist approach with this team, but I’ve got nothing to complain about here. It was a solid start.
AFTER ONE: 1-1, shots 15-8 Flyers
The second period started off like an eerie repeat of the first, with the Rangers coming up with an offensive push straight away. Lyon held his own in net, but it definitely could have been a better start. Read would receive a delayed penalty call for hooking at 3:31, and it looked like the Rangers were going to receive their second power play opportunity of the night.
Yet it was not to be. A post-whistle scrum led to a roughing minor on Zibanejad (thanks to Laughton), and off to 4-on-4 hockey we go.
The absolute highlight of the night will have to go to Jake Voracek’s goal during the following sequence at 3:46, a play so truly fantastic that I feel my words won’t do it enough justice. Just watch the gif and soak it all in. 2-1 Flyers. Hockey finally feels fun again.
The Flyers would then get their first power play of the night when Marc Staal tripped up Andrew MacDonald off the faceoff. Both units looked solid, first at 4-on-3 and then back to 5-on-3, but they were unable to score. The effort was there, but nothing quite got through.
For the next several minutes, the Flyers and Rangers traded some dangerous opportunities back and forth. Both goalies came up with important saves at either end as the game started to feel a little bit like watching a ping-pong tournament.
Once again solidifying himself as the most important man in my life, Konecny would score the third Flyers goal of the game on a redirection up close, deflecting the puck to Alexandar Georgiev’s right side. It truly is a beautiful day to love this incredibly frustrating team. 3-1 Flyers at 8:28 in the second. Go team.
TRAVIS KONECNY— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 23, 2018
3-1 Flyers pic.twitter.com/V9vFJb4uqk
Another penalty was called on the Rangers, this time on Kevin Hayes for slashing at 11:06. This Flyers power play was a little underwhelming, and surely they should fix that, but man, it feels good to see them scoring at 5-on-5 again. Remember last year? What a horrible nightmare.
The scoreless power play did end up costing them a bit of a cushion, as Jesper Fast (that’s his actual name!) would score the next goal for the Rangers off of Ivan Provorov’s skate. This team can never make it easy.
AFTER TWO: 3-2 Flyers, shots 25-23 Flyers
I merely blinked and missed the first goal in the third. Newly-noted offensive dynamo Oskar Lindblom scored just eight seconds into the period, and the good Lord above has smiled on me.
NOLAN PATRICK ➡️OSKAR LINDBLOM ➡️ 4-2 FLYERS pic.twitter.com/RvAXX9gnXs— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 23, 2018
However, this is the Flyers, and they know no better joy than to make things unnecessarily difficult. A defensive breakdown right off the faceoff in the Flyers zone would lead to another goal by Fast (again, that’s his name).
The Flyers seemed to lose a bit of the composure that held them together in the first two periods around here, and it took them longer to bounce back from this goal. The Rangers top line have looked truly dangerous the entire game, and they continued to do so here, peppering Lyon with shot after shot and forcing him to make sprawling saves.
A penalty would be called on Travis Sanheim for tripping at 8:21, and now is the time to get nervous. The Rangers power play looked crisp from start to finish, and the Flyers had major issues clearing their zone, leaving tired legs on the ice to deal with a buzzing Rangers top unit. The Flyers are just plain lucky to have gotten out of that unscathed.
After a few minutes of less-than-stellar plays, the Flyers managed to get some momentum back with some offensive pressure on the Rangers, and the rest of the game played out in their favor. The Rangers made one last push with the extra attacker, but it was not to be. Sad!
AFTER THREE: 4-3 Flyers, shots 36-36