That record remained intact today as the Flyers blew a 2-0 lead and collapsed in the third period to the New York Rangers.
Much like their most recent meeting, the game remained scoreless after the first period. Neither team had settled in, though the Flyers edged the Rangers 12-9 in shots.
Jaromir Jagr left the game during the first period. He was back on the ice for the second, but only took two more shifts for the remainder of the game. He is believed to have a minor leg injury that shouldn’t keep him out very long.
The dam broke at the 12:26 mark, when Brayden Schenn picked up a rebound from a Matt Carle shot and tallied his first career NHL goal. The accomplishment mirrored former Flyer Danny Syvret’s first career NHL goal in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic.
Claude Giroux collected a cross-ice pass from Max Talbot and roofed it to make it 2-0 less than two minutes later. The lead was short-lived, though, as fourth liner Mike Rupp fired a shot on Sergei Bobrovsky that eluded him. Andrej Meszaros was screening Bob on the shot when he should have engaged Rupp. Rupp mockingly threw out a Jagr “salute” after the goal, though he looked more like a Nazi sympathizer than a hockey player.
Rupp’s supremacy could not be contained, as he tied the game early in the third period. It was a soft goal that snuck under Bobrovksy’s arm at the side of the net. The momentum shift was as powerful as the wind blowing through Citizen’s Bank Park, and the Rangers converted to full shut-down mode.
Brad Richards scored the game winner at the 5:21 mark. Giroux lost track of Richards, who was left alone at the backdoor.
The referees made two questionable calls in the last two minutes that caused Rangers coach John Tortorella to wonder if they had conspired with NBC to force overtime. The first was matching penalties on Kimmo Timonen and Ryan Callahan when Timonen blatantly (and unnecessarily) hooked him following a routine dump-in. The second was a penalty shot after the referees believed Ryan McDonagh covered the puck with his hand during the ensuing 4-on-4.
Bobrovsky played decently today, stopping 30 of 33 shots, but Lundqvist clearly outplayed him. Lundqvist is on his way to a Vezina Trophy nomination with a 17-7-4 record, 1.92 goals-against-average and 0.937 save percentage.
It’s difficult to say what needs to change, as the Flyers are still one of the best teams in the NHL. With the roster built as it is, however, they will continually run into issues with teams like the Rangers and the Boston Bruins. At the very least, they need to find another forward to get Danny Briere going.
Another simple solution may be giving less ice time to Marc-Andre Bourdon. While he has been a good surprise this season, he is still a rookie and is being overexposed with 18:00+ of ice time.
At least we will always have proof that Flyers alumni trump Rangers alumni, even if it’s a shallow consolation prize.
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