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Flyers earn huge win against the Rangers

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Hallelujah!

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Flyers were looking to snap a losing streak, not just in their overall play, but a horrific run of form against the New York Rangers, whom twice in a row had embarrassed the Flyers. After their last meeting, where tempers flared, it was sure to be an interesting mid-day affair.

First Period

On the broadcast, Jim Jackson noted that Alain Vigneault had the Flyers working on fore-checking drills yesterday, and it showed as the Flyers looked notably improved in this area, even sustaining pressure for periods of time in the Rangers’ zone, a near rarity as of late. Turnovers were still present in the Flyers’ own zone but still the Flyers were the better team. They managed to force the Rangers into turnovers and were getting shots through on Igor Shesterkin.

The Rangers would go to the power play after Travis Konecny was called for roughing (on a play where Mika Zibanejad definitely flopped) and the flopper himself put the Rangers ahead 1-0. Ryan Strome threaded through a near perfect pass that Zibanejad couldn’t miss from in tight as Phil Myers lapsed coverage. Suddenly then, against the run of play, the Flyers would find themselves down yet again.

Brian Elliott had a little adventure out of his net and nearly cost the Flyers, but the period would end 1-0 in favor of New York.

Second Period

Igor Shesterkin made an unbelievable save after a flurry of chances for the Flyers, and in the chaos a penalty would be called, putting the Flyers on the power play. However, they could not convert, and then would be shorthanded on a tripping penalty not long after. The Flyers were able to kill that penalty off, and in the aftermath, were able to test Shesterkin a few times, but he came up with fairly tough saves that he made look easy.

As the period went on, the game started to become quite chippy as Flyers and Rangers players exchanged heated words and cross-checks on a fairly regular basis.

A lifeline would come for the Flyers as two tripping penalties sent them to a five-on-three power-play. During the two-man advantage, the Flyers lost key draws and failed to shoot the puck regularly, but on the ensuing normal power-play, Nolan Patrick would score on a deflected shot from Shayne Gostisbehere to tie the game at one goal apiece.

Third Period

The puck seemed to bounce all over the ice to begin the third period as the game turned into a tight-checking affair marked by turnovers. It was clear that both teams were playing simply not to lose. Igor Shesterkin continued to earn his keep in goal, as he denied Scott Laughton, who was clean through on a breakaway, flashing the glove to keep the game tied. Midway through the period, the Flyers were nearly doubling the Rangers’ total shot attempts, and Shesterkin was a huge reason why the Rangers were keeping the game tied.

The Rangers would go to the power play with around ten minutes left to play, looking to break the tie, but would be denied by some timely Flyer penalty killing.

Then, out of nowhere ... Sam Morin!

From the point, the much maligned big defenseman (and not forward) put a booming shot on net and upon finding twine, it results in Morin’s first ever NHL goal.

Though the last few minutes of the game would be missed due to NHL.TV inexplicably switching the game to a car show in Quebec, the stream resumed normalcy with a minute left in the third period as the Rangers managed to block a couple of attempts at an empty net.

In the end, it was a much needed win for the Flyers and keeps them close in the hunt for the playoffs.

Two Big Answers

What kind of response are we going to get?

It was hardly a perfect response from the Flyers, but in the end they managed to scrap and scrape and pulled out a victory today. Their forechecking was noticeably better and other than obvious lapses in concentration, defensively the Flyers looked far better.

Does this game get out of control?

The game didn’t get out of control, per se, but it was a chippy affair with plenty of hits and emotional flare. This, in particular, showed how inconsistent referees are in the NHL with calling roughing penalties, and for the Rangers’ goal, this came back to bite the Flyers.

Three Stars

3. Brian Elliott, 24/25 saves

2. Nolan Patrick, 1 G, amazing flow

1. Sam Morin, 1 G, game winner