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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
'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.