Flyers Blanked in Road Loss to Rangers

Flyers Blanked in Road Loss to Rangers

Playing their second game in less than 24-hours, the Philadelphia Flyers both looked and played flat for the majority of their afternoon tilt in New York, winding up on the wrong end of a 2-0 final.

Sergei Bobrovsky was mostly solid in his second straight start, but was bested by his Ranger counterpart Henrik Lundqvist. King Henrik turned aside all 29 shots sent his way for his second shutout of the year. Saturday was the first time the Flyers have failed to score a goal since a March 31st loss to the Atlanta Thrashers last spring.

Highlights, (another) injury update and some other stray observations below...

Scoring Recap:
After a tightly checked (read: largely uninspiring) first period, the Rangers got on the board early in the second thanks an accidentally successful Brad Richards knuckle puck. New York's big ticket free agent acquisition wound up and mostly missed a one-time opportunity from the right face-off circle, but got just enough behind his shot to send it fluttering toward the goal and behind a screened Bobrovsky.

From there, the Flyers would find a few opportunities—including a goal crease scrum with an extra attacker—but none that could crack Lundqvist.

Fatigue Factor?
Even with the fifteen minutes they still had to get themselves back in the game after falling down 2-0, there was the overwhelming feeling that it just wasn't going to happen on this afternoon for this team.

With the exceptions of some desperate bursts in the third period, the Flyers failed to sustain a presence in the Rangers zone for most of the game. Yes, they had 29 shots on goal, but too few of those opportunities were really quality scoring chances. And when the Flyers did have their good cracks at Lundqvist—a Scott Hartnell breakaway early in the first period, for example—they failed to do anything with them.

The NHL allegedly has a rule preventing teams from playing multiple games within a 24-hour window, but its enforcement is spotty and can allegedly be negated with agreement from the teams involved. Whatever the situation was here, the Flyers seemed to suffer from both a lack of rest and manpower.

With Pronger, JVR and Jagr all out of the lineup, the Flyers do have enough depth both at forward and on defense to make up for those absences... but, maybe not if they have to do it twice in 23 hours.

Further Injuries?
Scary scene in the first period when Andreas Nodl and Danny Briere collided in the neutral zone. Though Briere looked to have taken the worst of it at the time, it was Nodl who would take just two shifts in the second period and never return to the bench from the locker room in the third.

Zac Rinaldo also seemed to be in severe pain after taking a slapper to the inside on his ankle, but would soldier on, albeit for his customarily brief ice time.

Without Nodl as an extra body or the ability to roll four lines, the Flyers simply didn't have the personnel to make up for the holes they were already trying to cover.

Rough Stuff
Speaking of Rinaldo, he would take just six seconds to get into it with New York's Brandon Prust. Just nine minutes later—and only four after leaving the box for his first fighting major—Prust would step in to fight teammate Sean Avery's battle with Wayne Simmonds.

Though both fights will make for good fodder for upcoming installments of the 24/7 series, neither did very much good in terms of sparking the Flyers, with both Simmonds and Rinaldo losing in decisive fashion to the 6'2 Prust.

Videos of each throw down to follow in our ongoing Flyer Fights series...

Bob over Bryz
After looking sharp in relief of Ilya Bryzgalov during the team's come-from-behind win on Long Island Wednesday night, Sergei Bobrovsky was rewarded with back-to-back starts against the Canadiens and Rangers.

Tough to say whether Lavy was just riding the hot hand—as he is wont to do—or trying to send a message to exorbitantly paid and emotionally erratic Bryzgalov. CSN's Tim Panaccio seems to think both, but adds that it's "obviously" a case of the latter, though that's hardly surprising given his penchant for "stuff-stirring."

Ah, the beat writers...

Up Next
The Flyers will enjoy the next six days off and should see the return of at least one or two of those skaters who missed today's game. Jagr aids in making Giroux even more dynamic (if that's even possible), JVR skates as hard, if not harder than anyone on the team, and Chris Pronger is...well, he's frigging Chris Pronger.

The Flyers are a radically different team with any of those mentioned in the lineup, so it's unsurprising to see them look listless and lost on a back-to-back without all three.

They
'll try to right the ship when the travel to the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim to take on the Mighty Ducks next Friday at 10 p.m.

Note: I really don't care what the building or the team is called now. I've made my choice.

Flyers' power play rediscovers swagger in win over Canucks

Flyers' power play rediscovers swagger in win over Canucks

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Flyers got some swagger back Sunday night.

But especially so on the power play, which entered Sunday's clash just 2 for 19 over the last six games.

Two markers on the man advantage helped the Flyers edge the Canucks, 3-2, at Rogers Arena in Vanvoucer (see Instant Replay).

“It all comes back to finding a way to produce – and they did that tonight,” said Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, who had called for his power-play participants to rediscover that swagger.

Hakstol’s club won for the first time in its last nine games in Western Canada. More importantly, the Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference.

Thanks to the power-play success, the Flyers built a 3-0 lead in the game’s first 23 minutes and then hung on, atoning for a sub-par effort in a one-sided loss to the Oilers in Edmonton on Thursday night.

The Flyers converted two of three power plays while blanking the Canucks on all four of their man advantages. The loss prevented the Canucks (26-28-6) from getting closer to a Western Conference playoff berth.

“I thought we were playing some pretty good hockey of late, but the pucks weren't going in,” said Flyers center Brayden Schenn, who scored the winning goal on the power play at 2:38 of the second period. “Tonight, we tightened up defensively again from Edmonton's game and were able to score a few more goals. It's a huge two points going home."

Wayne Simmonds, also on the power play, and Jakub Voracek scored the Flyers’ other goals.

“We needed a win,” Simmonds said. “Especially after the game in Edmonton, this is good for the morale."

Shayne Gostisbehere assisted on all three goals, recording the first three-point night of his career.

Schenn’s winning goal came only a minute and 27 seconds after Voracek gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 1:11 of the second by sending Sean Couturier’s huge rebound into a gaping net behind Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. Voracek’s goal was his first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

How did long sought-after goal make him feel?

"Like I scored a goal,” deadpanned Voracek. “We won the game. That’s the way I looked at it. It doesn't matter who scored the goals. Special teams were huge tonight. I liked our power play. We were going all 60 minutes. This one kept us in the race."

The Flyers were a well-rested team thanks to a two-day break between games and a three-day break before the start of the road trip. The Canucks, on the other hand, were playing their second of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip. But there was still considerable suspense over the final 30 minutes.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen tallied for the Canucks, who are known as comeback artists, at 3:43 and 12:42 of the second, respectively, before the Flyers shut Vancouver down the rest of the way. Voracek indicated the Flyers were not nervous in the final frame.

"I don't think we changed anything to be honest,” he said. We were pretty tight in the neutral zone. We didn't give them much. When we had a couple of breakdowns, [Michal Neuvirth] was on his act.”

Neuvirth stopped 18 of 20 shots as the Flyers outshot the Canucks, 28-20. He enjoyed a much better start Sunday, holding the Canucks scoreless in the opening period after allowing four goals on his first 12 shots on Thursday in Edmonton. One of his better saves came with just over a minute into the game as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close.

"I felt good,” said Neuvirth. “I have been practicing well and playing with confidence. The last game, it didn't work out. I put that one behind me and restarted my mind and got back to work tonight.”

“I thought he was excellent,” said Hakstol. “He was calm and settled in there. You can go back through that 60 minutes and you can pick out three or four pretty darned good saves.”

Neuvirth excelled while making his fourth consecutive start and sixth in the past seven games overall.

“It feels good,” he said of the heavy workload. “It feels better when we win.”

But he was not about to get too excited. The Flyers have a tough clash at home Wednesday against NHL-best Washington and a road game Saturday at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field against the rival Penguins as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series.

“We have a tough schedule coming and we have to be ready,” Neuvirth said.

Sixers Twitter rejoices in the Kings' pick swap after DeMarcus Cousins deal

Sixers Twitter rejoices in the Kings' pick swap after DeMarcus Cousins deal

All hail the pick swap.

When word got out that the Sacramento Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans, Sixers fans on Twitter rejoiced.

On July 10, 2015, the Sixers traded away the rights to Artūras Gudaitis and Luka Mitrović, and, in return, received an unprotected 2019 first round pick, Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and the right to swap first-round selections in the 2016 and 2017 drafts.

The Cousins move appears to significantly weaken the Kings, who are 24-33 and just 2.5 games better than the Sixers, so the pick swap looks healthier than ever.

But, for now, enjoy some samplings of Sixers Twitter from after the trade.

Here are some of the best tweets.