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Rangers 3, Flyers 0: Mathematical elimination is a state of mind

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The Flyers, freed from the pressure of attempting to make the playoffs, turned in a clunker.

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers
Does this look like a goal? Well, guess what: it wasn’t one.
Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Some games, you can just watch and tell that they’re featuring two teams that aren’t in playoff contention. The Flyers joined that exquisite group yesterday, and they sure went out of their way today to show us how they felt about that.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped all 29 shots he faced and the Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, eventually cruising to a 3-0 win. The win prevents the Flyers from sweeping the season series with the Rangers, and makes it two straight weekends in which the team has picked up back-to-back losses.

Below are our thoughts as the game happened. Rather than say “we tried”, I’ll say that we tried exactly as hard as the Flyers did today.


12:20 p.m.: This feels like it’s going to be a weird game. The Flyers, of course, were officially elminated yesterday. The Rangers are in the middle of some weird half-assed rebuild and they’ve been mathematically eliminated prior to this one. The Flyers, who have beaten the Rangers in all three of their matchups this season, may not be trying that hard today. Who knows. Let’s find out.

12:34 p.m.: And off we go in the post-playoff-chase experience as the puck has dropped.

12:38 p.m.: “The Flyers have played eight goaltenders this season, an NHL record.” Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you didn’t see history this season, folks.

12:39 p.m.: Wooooow. Buchnevich has a ton of space in close and corrals a rebound by Hart, but the goalie slides over in time to deny a tap-in. Perhaps a little discerning how much room Buchnevich had there...

12:40 p.m.: And Hart is quickly back at it again, as a Vorack blocked shot goes the other way for a breakaway by Brett Howden but Hart shuts it down. Gonna be one of those games.

12:45 p.m.: First real extended offensive shift of the day for the Flyers takes place about eight minutes into the game. It ends in one shot attempt that goes wide.

12:46 p.m.: Here was the first big Hart save mentioned above. There’s way too much white and not enough orange and black in this picture...

12:50 p.m.: According to the clock, just under seven minutes of hockey just passed without a whistle, but lord help me I’m having trouble pointing out many things that happened during that time. It’s Sunday morning for the guys on the ice, too.

12:58 p.m.: A thing happened! But not a good thing, depending on your perspective. Rangers get a rush up-ice and a great pass from Zibanejad to Buchnevich and he gets around Hart and fires past him at the angle. 1-0 New York with just under four minutes left in the first period. The Flyers allegedly have six defensemen in the lineup today, but I gotta admit, I haven’t seen many of them in the defensive zone.

1:03 p.m.: They just showed Peter Forsberg hanging out up in the suite level with Gritty. Gritty clearly wanted to take a photo. It took Forsberg about 10 seconds to turn around and look into the camera. This is the most exciting thing to happen so far in this game.

1:07 p.m.: Ahahahahahaha and the Rangers score with 2.6 seconds left. Ryan Strome, who is clearly trying to impress his brother that’s in the building today. Who cares. It’s 2-0 New York after one. Feels like it should be worse than that. This is already the most useless game in this depressing season.

1:25 p.m.: It is with a heavy heart that I announce that the hockey game has resumed.

1:26 p.m.: Pretty good first shift from the Patrick line, cycling around the offiensive zone for a minute, but nothing doing.

1:28 p.m.: Brendan Smith trips Shayne Gostisbehere from behind and the power play will take the ice for the first time today.

1:31 p.m: Decent enough power play for the Flyers comes and goes and is now immediately coming back as Smith is called for touching the puck while he’s still in the penalty box. Total fluke play that, to me, is objectively funny. Remember a while ago when Mark Streit did that? But he actually tried to play it? This was like that, but far less flagrant. I don’t know. I enjoyed it.

1:34 p.m.: Here’s the thing about playing Claude Giroux on the right side boards on the power play:

  • It’s bad
  • Stop doing it
  • I don’t like it
  • Perhaps instead do the thing that has largely worked for eight seasons

1:37 p.m.: And after two fruitless power plays, the Flyers will be on the other side of the coin, as Michael Raffl cross-checks Brady Skjei near the boards.

1:41 p.m.: Lindblom takes a shot off his foot and hobbles off a bit, but the Flyers kill off that penalty.

1:46 p.m.: Another long stretch without a whistle in which it feels like almost nothing of substance happened.

1:49 p.m.: “The Rangers, they’ve been playing hard all season, even after they’ve been eliminated,” says Pierre McGuire, in what has to be a verbal subtweet at the other team on the ice.

1:55 p.m.: Best offensive chance of the day for the Flyers comes on a James van Riemsdyk breakaway, but Georgiev shuts it down. Noteworthy here is that, had JvR scored, Carter Hart would have tallied his first NHL point on an assist, but we’re robbed of that as well, because the idea of anything fun happening in this game is a real non-starter.

1:59 p.m.: 2-0 New York after 40 minutes.

2:16 p.m.: Sure, let’s see what happens. Third period underway.

2:17 p.m.: Flyers very quickly get a 2-on-1 with Konecny and Lindblom but the latter can’t quite time up a shot and takes a big swing-and-a-miss on the cross-ice pass.

2:21 p.m.: Oh geez. Patrick and Buchnevich run into each other (both were looking at the puck and didn’t see it coming) and are down on the ice for a bit. Both get up and head to the bench, and Buchnevich will head into the locker room while Patrick remains on the ice.

2:24 p.m.: Brendan Smith clearly knows something about the penalty box that we don’t, because he’ll be heading there for the third time today after another trip, this one on Robert Hagg.

2:27 p.m.: The good news is that that power play featured a fair amount of Giroux on the left side! The bad news is the rest of the power play. Some credit goes to Jake Voracek, who backchecked very hard as it ended to snuff out a possible 2-on-0 as Smith got out of the box.

2:31 p.m.: Ahahahahahaha well that’s how this game should go, isn’t it? The Rangers take a 3-0 lead after a point shot deflects off of both Laughton and Sanheim and goes past Hart from there. Extremely cool.

2:50 p.m.: The Flyers had a power play, it was Brendan Smith again, they didn’t score. Copy and paste.

2:55 p.m.: Flyers end the game killing a penalty as Sanheim is called for hooking. That feels about right. 3-0 is your final from South Philadelphia and the Flyers hear some boos as they head off the ice. Three more games. We’re almost there.

Go Flyers.