The Flyers lost their third consecutive game on Saturday when the visiting Sabres won 5-3. Three goals in a span of three minutes and forty seconds in the second period turned a two-goal Flyers lead into a one-goal deficit. Jason Pominville put away the game-winner six minutes and thirty-seven seconds into the final period. The loss drops Philly to 40-18-6 on the season.
After an opening ten minutes that saw several chances, including a shot off the post by Kimmo Timonen, the Flyers finally capitalized on a powerplay later in the first period. As Shaone Morrisonn sat in the box for a delay of game call, Matt Carle found himself in the corner to the left of Ryan Miller with the puck. Carle centered the puck to Mike Richards who then tipped it to Kris Versteeg for an open net goal. Versteeg's eighteenth goal, and fourth as a Flyer, gave Philly the 1-0 lead with just over seven minutes left to play in the first.
In what was possibly his most skillful goal of the season, James van Riemsdyk added on his sixteenth goal to extend the Flyers' lead to two. Picking up the puck in the neutral zone, JVR was able to fight off Morrisonn for a 2-on-1 opportunity. As Jordan Leopald dropped to the ice to block the pass, JVR put the puck on his backhand and roofed a shot over Miller's glove. Coming with just two minutes and thirty-eight seconds left in the period, the Flyers then cruised into the second with the two-goal lead.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, a common trait of their game this season has been to dominate early and then allow the opposition back into the game with a brief lapse of discipline. A perfect example of that was in today's game when Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis, and Andrej Sekera scored in a three minute and forty second span early in the second period.
The first of the three goals came after the Flyers had just killed off a Chris Pronger tripping penalty. Unable to clear the zone, Braydon Coburn turned the puck over along the boards to Ennis who then passed it to Thomas Vanek behind the net to Sergei Bobrovsky's right. Passing it to the slot, Vanek was able to find Stafford who was able to lift it over Bob's shoulder after he had dropped to his knees too early. Stafford's twenty-fifth goal on the season broke up Bob's shutout and put the Sabres right back in the game.
Just under two minutes later, a lucky goal coming off of an awkward play erased Philly's lead. As Ennis entered the zone, he moved down into the corner to Bob's right and centered a pass to the slot. With Bob hugging the right post and Patrick Kaleta sliding into the open part of the net, the puck somehow found it's way from the corner past the goal-line to tie the game at two. Ennis picked up his fourteenth goal and the Sabres picked up a new chance for victory.
Before the Flyers could even realize what was happening, Sekera found his way onto the scoresheet by scoring on a wrap around as a result of a broken play. After initially being stuffed by Bobrovsky's left leg pad on a backhand attempt while moving from right to left across the top of the crease, Sekera regained possession of the puck behind the goal and wrapped around the net to the right post sliding a shot under a diving Coburn. Sekera's third was also the Sabres' third in the game.
Addressing the need to stop Buffalo's offensive explosion, the Flyers answered quickly with a goal of their own. With Versteeg in the sin bin for slashing, Coburn and Kimmo Timonen put on an offensive show starting with a 2-on-1. After that had failed, the puck was about to leave the zone before Coburn picked it up and lifted a pass to Timonen. Gloving the puck to the ice, Timonen took a second to line up a shot and put it top right corner to tie the game at three. Timonen's shorthanded goal was his fourth on the season.
The rest of Versteeg's penalty was killed off successfully as the rest of the middle stanza saw no more scoring from either side. The chance for Philly to grab two points from a praying-for-the-playoffs hungry Buffalo team was still possible with just twenty minutes left in regulation.
Six minutes and thirty-seven seconds into the third period, Pominville tipped a shot passed Bob to give the Sabres all they needed to win. Vanek skated into the zone along the benches and stopped at the top of the circle to Bob's right. As he dumped the puck to the slot, a hustling Pominville was able to put a stick on it and put it over the glove of a sprawled out Bobrovsky.
A Miller delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass couldn't help the Flyers at all as Nathan Gerbe added on an empty net goal just before the last minute of play to make the final score 5-3.
Playing back-to-back teams who are fighting for a playoff spot while they sit atop the conference could be a good reason as to why the Flyers have been getting outplayed lately. Add in players missing starts due to the flu and there's no need to get worked up over the Flyers' losing streak.
However, every game has importance and the easiest road to the Stanley Cup comes from being the top seed. As the Bruins and other teams gain momentum going into the final stretch of the season, the Flyers need to buckle down and wake up before it's too late.
Notes: Timonen's goal in the second was his 100th career goal. This is only the Flyers' second three-game losing streak of the season; first was October 14th- October 21st. The last team the Flyers have beaten in regulation is the Rangers, who they play tomorrow in New York. The Flyers are now 2-1-0 against the Sabres on the season and 10-6-0 against the Northeast division (BOS 1-2-0, MTL 3-1-0, BUF 2-1-0, TOR 2-1-0, OTT 2-1-0).
Facing a team hungry for a playoff spot, the Flyers lacked urgency late in the third period leading to their 3-2 defeat against the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening.
In a play resulting from hard work in the corner, Darryl Boyce scored the game-winning goal for Toronto with under five minutes to play in regulation.
Kris Versteeg netted a pair of goals in a losing effort for the Flyers, while Mike Richards assisted on both tallies. The loss drops Philly to 40-17-6.
The Flyers were able to strike first after dominating the early play. Chris Pronger -- who returned from a week's absence due to a hand injury -- handed the puck to Richards at the top of the circle to James Reimer's left who then danced around the inside of the same circle. Richards passed it cross ice to an open Versteeg who ripped it home in the opposing circle. Versteeg's 16th on the season gave Philly the 1-0 lead just before the six-minute mark.
The thrill of taking the early lead lasted all of twenty-one seconds. In an attempt to move the puck out of the defensive zone, Scott Hartnell essentially set up Clarke MacArthur in the slot for a wide open shot. Nikolai Kulemin found a way to touch the puck at the top of the crease and get it past Sergei Bobrovsky to tie the game at one. The score was Kulemin's 24th goal on the season.
Shortly after the game-tying goal, Andrej Meszaros went to the box for slashing. The Maple Leafs weren't able to score, but Tyler Bozak found his way into the slot and rang a shot off the inside of the right post. Pressure was constantly applied by Toronto eventually leading to another Meszaros penalty. His cross-checking call occurred three minutes and eight seconds after his previous infraction didn't result in a Toronto goal.
Not learning from his pairing partner, Sean O'Donnell soon found his way to the sin bin a matter of minutes later for holding. If he hadn't bailed out his teammates enough, Bobrovsky made several big saves within the two minute span including a Nikolai Kulemin wristshot from the slot.
A penalty-filled first period ended in a 1-1 tie. After a strong opening, the Flyers started to fade behind penalties and lack of chemistry among non-regulars later in the period leading to several opportunites for Toronto to take the lead. Fortunately for Philly, Bob didn't see another puck pass the goal-line.
To start off the middle period, Keith Aulie decided to introduce himself to Hartnell with a fight. Pushing and shoving in the corner to Reimer's left led to a fight that saw Hartnell land a punch early, but Aulie finished the fight by knocking his opponent to his knees.
Cycling upon cycling resulted in another Richards to Versteeg connection as well as another one-goal lead for the Flyers early in the second period.
With the benefit of Jody Shelley's hard work, Richards, who had been slashed on the hand earlier in the play by Mike Komisarek, received a pass in the corner to Reimer's left from Matt Carle, who was standing at the point. A quick pass cross ice to Versteeg yet again resulted in his 17th goal this year and a 2-1 Flyers lead at the 7:07 mark.
Since the Flyers repeated the Richards to Versteeg idea, they thought why not repeat a "giving up the lead within the same minute" mentality. Shortly after Versteeg's second goal on the night, the Flyers almost gave up their second lead of the night when Brett Lebda had back-to-back shots on Bob from the slot. Neither of Lebda's shots went in keeping the Flyers' lead at one.
Meszaros started feeling funny because he hadn't been in the penalty box for a while, so he decided to get a roughing minor eight minutes and thirty-one seconds into the period. Phil Kessel just missed tying the game up as he sent a rolling puck high from the doorstep despite staring at a half-open net. The Maple Leafs watched the remaining time on their fifth power-play opportunity run out as they failed to score yet again.
Late in the second period, the Flyers started applying pressure before Kessel eventually went to the box for tripping. Unable to produce a single high-quality chance, Philly's power play was shortened due to a too many men on the ice call.
Seemingly revived from the Flyers' too many men on the ice call, Dion Phaneuf found a way to tie the game up before the waning seconds in the second stanza had ticked off the clock.
A shot wide of the net was recovered by Mikhail Grabovski just to the left of the slot and worked to Kulemin who put a shot on Bob from the right hash marks. As the rebound from Kulemin's shot landed to Bob's right, Phaneuf put the puck past the goal-line with 10.5 seconds left in the period to tie the game at two. Since the goal was at during a 4-on-4 situation, the Maple Leafs started out the final period on the power play.
Killing off the remainder of the too many men on the ice call, the Flyers found themselves on the advantage due to Bozak clearing the puck over the glass early in the third period to draw a delay-of-game call.
Ironically, the closest chance for a goal came on a short-handed breakaway attempt from Tim Brent. As he went in on Bobrovsky alone, Pronger caught up to the Maple Leaf forcing him off the puck as the play resulted in nothing more than a missed opportunity.
James van Riemsdyk almost gave the Flyers a one-goal lead halfway through the final period as a slapshot from the top of the circle to Reimer's right popped up in the air and trickled just to the left of the left goal post as the goaltender knelt frozen on the right side of the crease confused as to where the puck had gone.
Midway through the third period, a Ville Leino tripping call gave the Maple Leafs their seventh power-play opportunity of the game.
Nearing the end of the man advantage, Bob gave Flyers' fans a scare after he bobbled an easy glove stop resulting in Toronto possessing the puck again. Nothing came of the Maple Leaf's extra opportunity and the game remained tied at two as nine minutes remained in regulation.
Meszaros almost redeemed himself for the multiple penalties he took within the game by nearly scoring a late game-winning goal. Moving from the blueline to the top of the right circle to the slot, Meszaros let a shot rip that Reimer kept from crossing the goal line to keep the game tied.
As the game inched closer and closer to the end, hard work by Toronto led to a garbage goal. Colby Armstrong fought for the puck in the corner eventually moving the puck to Darryl Boyce along the boards behind the left part of the net. Moving the puck to the goal mouth, Boyce was untouched as he slammed the puck past Bobrovsky's right side to give Toronto a 3-2 lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
Despite several minutes of pressure to finish the game, the Flyers couldn't tie it up resulting in a 3-2 defeat at home to the Maple Leafs. Danny Briere had the home team's best chance to tie with under 21 seconds to go, as his point-blank wrister ticked off Reimer's glove, popped in the air, settled on top of the net then fell right back into Reimer's mitt as bodies moved into the crease.
After making key saves near the end of the first period and all through the second period, Bobrovsky ultimately allowed a rather soft goal to give the Flyers the loss. Bob does deserve credit in helping to keep Toronto from registering a power-play goal despite having eight opportunities, but goals, especially easily avoidable ones, cannot happen in the final minutes of regulation.
The Flyers struggled with Jeff Carter, Darroll Powe, and Daniel Carcillo sitting out with a sudden case of the flu that has made its way through the club. Van Riemsdyk, dealing with a groin injury, along with Nikolay Zherdev and Ben Holmstrom, who was making his NHL debut, stepped in to fill the vacant spots in the lineup. All three lacked any kind of production on the night as they didn't see a single point.
Versteeg, in his eighth game as a Flyer, finally had a goal with the opposing goalie on the ice. In fact, Versteeg had a pair of goals as he was the only Flyer to post a goal this evening.
Notes: The Leafs snapped a four-game losing streak to the Flyers, and posted their first win in Philadelphia since March 12, 2008...Tonight was Versteeg's first multi-goal game since November 16, 2010 (2 goals against Nashville) while with Toronto...Kulemin's goal in the first period was originally awarded to Clarke MacArthur...The Flyers are now 2-1-0 against the Maple Leafs this season and 10-5-0 against the Northeast division (BOS 1-2-0, MTL 3-1-0, BUF 2-0-0, TOR 2-1-0, OTT 2-1-0).
Despite playing two pathetic games, the Flyers still found a way to come out with a win at the end of the week. After blowing a two-goal lead in the third period, Andrej Meszaros was able to save the Flyers from embarrassment by scoring in overtime on Thursday finalizing the score at 4-3.
Thanks to several hectic events on Saturday (Chris Pronger and Oskars Bartulis injured, Erik Gustafsson making his NHL debut, and James van Riemsdyk briefly being sent down to the Phantoms), the Flyers were beat by a team that shouldn't even be in the same league as them. The Ottawa Senators capitalized on only being down by a Scott Hartnell goal after the opening period despite being out shot 15-3. Keeping the Flyers off the scoreboard for the next two periods, the Sens scored a pair in both the second and third periods winning the game 4-1. Erik Condra netted two goals, including his first goal in the NHL, while Chris Phillips scored his first on the season.
With his team sitting atop the Eastern Conference, Flyers' GM Paul Holmgren found no reason to shake things up. "I wasn't going to disrupt things," said Holmgren, "I like our team, so I actually felt good about (no moves)."
That being said, the Flyers will be welcoming some new faces to the club. Veteran defense man Nick Boynton was picked up off waivers from Chicago on Saturday due to the news Oskars Bartulis will be out for the remainder of the season. In addition to this move, the orange and black also picked up Tom Sestito from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Adirondack's Greg Moore and Michael Chaput.
Here's a look at how other teams in the Atlantic did throughout the week and what deals went done.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 1-1-1. Still looking for ways to win without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins lone win on the week was edging out the Maple Leafs on Saturday 6-5 in a shootout. An overtime loss to the surging Sharks 3-2 on Wednesday and being completely dominated by the Hurricanes on Friday 4-1 filled out the rest of Pitt's schedule this week.
Alex Kovalev made his mark in a Pens' uniform scoring the opening goal in Saturday's game along with scoring the only goal in the shootout to give the Pens the win. Mark Letestu also made his presence felt in Saturday's game by scoring a power-play goal in the second period as well as assisting on Mike Rupp's game-tying goal in the third period.
The Penguins didn't make any moves on deadline day, but they did acquire Kovalev from the Senators for a conditional draft pick in the 2011 draft earlier in the week.
New York Rangers: 1-2-0. After demolishing the Capitals 6-0 on Friday, the Rangers lost back-to-back one-goal games giving them two out of the six points possible this week. Losses at home on Sunday to Tampa Bay 3-2 and last night against Buffalo 3-2 dropped the Rangers even further behind the second place Penguins.
Erik Christensen had a five point week registering three goals and two assists over the three game span. His biggest game of the week was the Caps game, where he scored two goals and assisted on both of the Rangers' third period goals. Christensen also scored a goal last night against Buffalo for his ninth on the season.
Former Flyer Martin Biron is most likely out for the remainder of the season with a fractured collarbone. Biron suffered the injury after taking a shot to the collarbone during practice on Monday. Cam Talbot has been called up to fill in for Biron.
The Rangers were busy around the deadline as they made two different deals. On February 25th, the Rangers gave the Florida Panthers Tim Kennedy and a third round pick in the 2011 draft in exchange for defense man Bryan McCabe. The veteran defense man tallied his first point for the Blueshirts last night assisting on Christensen's second period power-play goal.
In addition to McCabe, the Rangers also added forward John Mitchell from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2012 draft. Mitchell had two goals and one assist in twenty-three games this season for Toronto.
New Jersey Devils: 1-1-0. The Devils were able to beat the Panthers 2-1 on Sunday in what appears to be Jason Arnott's last game in a Devils' uniform. Dropping their first game of the week 2-1 to the the Lightning on Friday, the Devils ended up going .500 on the week.
Not a single Devil this week registered more than a point. Brian Rolston had the only game-winning goal of the week scoring on the powerplay halfway through the first period on Sunday.
Although he lost his lone start of the week on Friday, Johan Hedberg's ability to step up while Martin Brodeur was injured did not go unnoticed. Hedberg was named the NHL's third star of the month for February posting a record of 7-1-1 with two shutouts over the ten game span.
The Devils took part in one of the biggest moves on deadline day. Unfortunately, they were on the wrong side of the deal. Accepting David Steckel and a second round pick in the 2012 draft in return from Washington, the Devils shipped Jason Arnott to the nation's capital. Steckel is regarded as one of the best faceoff men in the league, but Arnott's effect on the Capitals will surely have a greater result than Steckel's effect to the Devils.
New York Islanders: 0-1-2. The only winless team within the division this week, the Islanders still found a way to gain two points forcing two of their games into overtime. Meszaros scored in overtime on Thursday for Philly, while Alex Ovechkin scored last night to keep the Isles from winning within the week.
The Isles handed the Caps two wins this week after blowing a pair of third period leads. Heading into the final period on Saturday, the Islanders were up 2-1 before both Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin found the net before the six minute mark. Semin's goal turned out to be the game-winner as the Caps hung on for a 3-2 win on Long Island.
Not learning their lesson, the Islanders had a 1-0 lead over the Caps heading into the third period again in Washington last night. Brooks Laich scored with forty-eight seconds left in the game sending it to overtime where Ovechkin went coast-to-coast allowing the Isles to choke away another late game lead.
Matt Martin isn't known as a goal scorer, but he stepped up on Thursday to give his team a chance. Shortly after Jeff Carter had just put Philly up 3-1 in the third period, Martin responded with his third goal of the season a minute and twenty-six seconds later. In the final minute of play, Martin was able to get off a shot from the slot while being checked to score his second goal in the period and his fourth goal on the season. The Isles were unable to utilize Martin's goal with twenty-eight seconds left in regulation as they watched Meszaros and the Flyers celebrate an overtime victory.
The Islanders didn't make any moves near the trade deadline.
In the Flyers' four games this week they posted a record of 2-1-1. Philly won two games this week, 4-2 Wednesday against Florida and 4-2 Sunday against the Rangers, but unfortunately they lost more than just two games this week. Blair Betts, Sean O'Donnell, and Oskars Bartulis all went down with injuries this week.
Feeling the high of scoring a short-handed goal to get his team back into the game Friday, Betts shortly felt a low having to leave the game with a cut on his right hand. Betts, who missed part of the 3-2 loss in Carolina, also missed Philly's match ups with the Rangers and Coyotes this week due to the laceration. He's expected back in the line up later in the week.
O'Donnell left in the first period of Sunday's win in New York with an injury relating to his knee. The incident occurred after being tripped and falling into the corner in Philly's defensive zone. He was originally diagnosed as being out for 10-14 days, but Paul Holmgren now says O'Donnell could play on Thursday against the Islanders.
Playing for the first time since January 11, Bartulis was filling in for the injured O'Donnell before he too found his way to the locker room due to an injury. As he stood over Sergei Bobrovsky after a low-key play, Bartulis was hit after the whistle by former Flyer Scottie Upshall. The hit sent Bartulis flying into the boards and resulted in a shoulder injury. The extent of Bartulis's injury should be determined today as he will be given an MRI.
Aside from the injuries, the Flyers were able to grab 5 out of a possible 8 points this week. Danny Briere led the way with one goal and four assists this week including a three-point game in Florida on Wednesday (1 goal, 2 assists). Despite their being twelve Flyers' goals this week, only one Flyer had more than one goal. Claude Giroux netted a power-play goal on Sunday and the game tying goal with a little over a minute left in regulation last night against the Coyotes forcing the game to overtime; Shane Doan scored two minutes and forty-one seconds into the extra period leaving Philly with a point.
The upcoming week seems to be a lot less challenging for Philly as the only games they have are against the Islanders and Senators. Now that we know how well the Flyers did this week let's look at the rest of the division.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 1-1-1. The biggest news of the week coming out of Pittsburgh has to be acquisition of James Neal and Matt Niskanen. Sending defense man Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars, the Pens picked up a forward in Neal who has twenty-one goals and eighteen assists so far this season. Niskanen has six assists in forty-five games.
With the exception of the trade, the past week for the Pens went from good to bad. After posting a 3-2 overtime win in Colorado on Wednesday, the Pens lost 3-2 to the Blackhawks on Sunday in a shootout and then didn't gain any points in a 1-0 loss to Washington the following day.
Pittsburgh's lone win of the week wasn't all that impressive either as they needed a power-play goal in extra time to edge out a team in the midst of a ten-game losing streak.
Jordan Staal had a goal and two assists as he took part in three of Pitt's five goals within the week. After scoring the game tying goal in the Avalanche game, Staal set up Tyler Kennedy for the game winning goal in overtime. Adding onto that, he also stood up for Matt Cooke after the Caps' Matt Bradley laid him out in the corner. The fact of whether Staal standing up for his notoriously cheap teammate is a good or bad thing is still up for debate.
The Pens' upcoming week starts off rough as they host the San Jose Sharks tonight. The Sharks are currently on a four-game winning streak after beating the Red Wings 4-3 last night.
New York Rangers: 2-2-0. The Rangers started turning things around this week as they posted multiple wins within a seven day span. The Rangers' 4-3 shootout win over the Kings on Thursday paired with a 4-3 shootout win over Carolina yesterday kept New York at five-hundred this week.
Adding on to their long list of injury problems this season, Marian Gaborik left Sunday's game with a concussion. Gaborik didn't play in Tuesday's game against Carolina and the team isn't sure if he'll be back this week.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, both of their losses came against divisional opponents. Both Johan Hedberg, who posted a sixteen save shutout on Friday, and Brian Boucher, who made thirty-six of thirty-eight saves on Sunday, made it difficult for the Blueshirts to rack up enough goals in either game for a win.
Wojtek Wolski came through for the Rangers last night as he led New York to their shootout win in Carolina. After netting the game tying goal with under two minutes left in regulation, Wolski made his shootout attempt to give the Rangers the additional point. Wolski also had the opening goal in Sunday's game against Philly.
After eeking out two shootout wins, the upcoming week could treat NY horribly. A trip to Washington on Friday along with a visit from Tampa Bay, the Rangers could see the gap widen between them and the Penguins in the race for second in the division.
New Jersey Devils: 4-0-0. Going unbeaten yet again, the Devils post the best record within the division. Two wins over the Hurricanes in addition to shutouts against the Rangers and Stars allowed the Devils to obtain every possible point this week.
Johan Hedberg has to take a lot of the credit for the Devils' wins this week. After Martin Brodeur went down with a knee injury, Hedberg stepped up and performed well in all four games this week. Two shutouts, a one-goal game, and a two-goal game summarize the work of a goaltender who deserves a lot more recognition around the league.
Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Nick Palmieri all had a strong string of performances this week. Kovalchuk had two goals, one of which was the game winner against the Rangers on Friday, along with two assists.
Elias had the game winning goal against the Hurricanes along with an assist. He'd add on two more assists over the next three games.
Palmieri had the game winning goal against the Stars on Tuesday scoring the only goal of the game late in the third period. He'd provide two assists on the week as well.
The Devils will see nothing but the Southeast division this week as they play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday and the Florida Panthers on Sunday. Both of the games are in Florida.
New York Islanders: 2-2-0. Wins over the Kings and Panthers were sandwiched between losses to the Bruins and Maple Leafs as the Islanders broke even this week.
Nathan Lawson handed the game to the Bruins on Thursday as he allowed five goals on eighteen shots before being pulled just before three minutes had passed in the second period.
A 3-0 victory on Saturday against the visiting Kings and a 5-1 romping of the Panthers made for a great weekend on Long Island. However, the thrill of back-to-back wins with a goal differential of +7 was short-lived as the Isles allowed a late third period goal to Phil Kessel losing 2-1 in Toronto last night.
Playing in three games over a four day span, Al Montoya stopped seventy-eight of eighty-one shots. After posting a thirty-five save shutout on Saturday, Montoya only allowed one goal to the Panthers. Unfortunately, allowing two goals yesterday was too much as the Isles were only able to muster one goal in response.
Matt Moulson was the Islander of the week as he had six goals and an assist over the four game span. With a two-goal effort on Saturday against the Kings and a hat-trick against the Panthers on Monday, Moulson played a key role in the Isles' two victories this week.
The Islanders will be tested this week as they visit the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday to take on the Flyers and then have back-to-back games against the Caps on Saturday and Tuesday.
Opening Hockey Day in America, the Flyers continued their seasonal domination of the Rangers beating them 4-2 for their fourth straight win over New York. Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux both had a goal and an assist today leading Philly to victory, despite the orange and black getting out shot 39-24. The win improves the Flyers' record to 39-15-5.
After a very uneventful opening twelve minutes, the Rangers were the first team to score. Brian Boucher failed to clear the puck as the Rangers gained control of it behind the net leading to a few offensive chances. As Ryan McDonagh shot the puck wide from the point, it caromed off the boards to the slot. As Boucher just missed covering up the puck, Wojtek Wolski took a shot from the slot that leaked its way to the goalline. With Boosh unaware of where the puck was, Wolski reached behind the netminder to slam it home for his 10th goal on the season.
The first lead of the game didn't last long as the Flyers found the equalizer four minutes later. Giroux entered the offensive zone and reached the faceoff dot to the left of Henrik Lundqvist before turning back towards the blue line. While facing center ice, Giroux lofted a backhanded pass to the slot where Carter shot the puck five-hole on Lundqvist who was screened by Scott Hartnell. Carter's 27th goal on the season tied the game up with three minutes and eighteen seconds left in the period.
An opportunity for the Flyers to take their first lead of the game came just twenty seconds later as Brian Boyle went to the sin bin for cross-checking. The power play didn't result in a goal as three of Philly's shots were blocked by New York skaters and the lone power-play shot from Danny Briere couldn't find its way past Lundqvist.
As the score was tied 1-1 to start the second period, the Flyers received the first power play of the middle stanza. Derek Stepan sat in the box for a delay of game call. He'd go unpunished for his actions as the Flyers couldn't muster a power-play goal.
With their third power play opportunity of the game, the Flyers finally cashed in on the man advantage. Twenty-three seconds after Wolski went to the box for boarding Andrej Meszaros, Giroux registered his second point on the day by finding the back of the net. After Lundqvist made a great sprawling stick save to keep Carter from scoring his second goal of the game, the puck went behind the net where Carter regained control of it. As Lundqvist was still lying down on the ice from the previous play, Carter passed the puck to Giroux who put home his 20th goal of the season from the bottom of the left circle.
Chances started coming in bunches for the Flyers ultimately leading to their third goal. After initially tipping a Braydon Coburn shot from the point, Daniel Carcillo fought to regain control of the puck and put a spin-o-rama backhander on net. Lundqvist, who was on his knees from the previous save, tried moving slightly to his left opening up just enough of his five-hole for Carcillo's shot to slip through for his 4th goal of the year.
Displaying a great sense of urgency, the Rangers came out and provided strong offensive pressure early in the final period.New York's hard work paid off with a fortuitous bounce. After some cycling in the zone, a Dan Giradi shot from the point caromed off the end boards and snuck in behind Boucher in the crease. As the puck moved from the bottom left to the top right part of the crease, Stepan was the benefactor of the bounce depositing the puck in the net for the Rangers' second goal of the night. Stepan's 16th goal of the season gave the Rangers a chance to tie up the game.
The final minutes of regulation consisted of end-to-end action with both teams providing several scoring chances. In an attempt to find the game-tying goal, the Rangers pulled Lundqvist. The move ended up backfiring as Kris Versteeg netted his first goal as a Flyer hitting the wide open net with a shot from just inside the red line next to the benches.
As the remaining forty-six seconds of regulation clicked off the clock, the Flyers celebrated a 4-2 victory over their divisional foes at Madison Square Garden.
After a soft opening goal, Boucher had another impressive outing. Highlighted with a beautiful glove/kick save combination on a Ryan Callahan in the second period, Boucher made 37 out of a possible 39 saves. He had quite the eventful third period as he momentarily injured himself after making an awkward leg save, then found himself on the wrong side of a lucky bounce. Boucher is now 15-6-2 on the season.
In an attempt to draw in more fans to the game of hockey, the Flyers visit to New York was a game that helped Hockey Day in America greatly. A day filled with non-stop hockey action, Hockey Day in America featured several games at 12:30 pm (including the Caps in Buffalo and the Red Wings in Minnesota) followed by the Blackhawks hosting the Penguins at 3:30 pm. The day will conclude with the Heritage Classic, an outdoor game where the Calgary Flames will host the Montreal Canadiens at 6 pm.
Notes: Blair Betts sat out with a finger injury he suffered in the loss to Carolina on Friday. Sean O'Donnell left the game in the 1st period with a lower-body injury. Wojtek Wolski's first period goal was the first goal scored on Hockey Day in America. The Flyers are now 4-0-0 against the Rangers on the season and are 13-2-1 against their Atlantic division foes (PIT 3-1-0, NYR 4-0-0, NJD 3-1-1, NYI 3-0-0).