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.

'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.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Flyers-Canadiens 5 things: Long week starts with a bang

Flyers-Canadiens 5 things: Long week starts with a bang

Flyers at Canadiens
7:30 p.m. on CSN, Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers’ mettle will be tested this week with a stretch of five games in seven days.

That’s a lot of pucks.

It starts Monday night when the Flyers (2-2-1) visit the hot-starting Montreal Canadiens (4-0-1) at the Bell Centre.

Let’s get you set with five things to know for the matchup:

1. Goals, goals, goals
There should be an abundance of them Monday night.

The Canadiens are scoring an NHL-most 4.00 goals per game while the Flyers, coming off a six-goal outburst, are third at 3.80.

Montreal has been scary good through five games. Not only are the Canadiens lighting the lamp at a league-best clip, but they’re also allowing the fewest goals per game at 1.60 a night. They have hockey’s No. 1 goal differential (plus-11) and No. 8 penalty kill, having thwarted 23 of 25 opponents' power plays (92.0 percent).

The Canadiens' offseason additions of defenseman Shea Weber and backup goalie Al Montoya have paid instant dividends. Weber, acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent P.K. Subban to the Predators, has one goal, four assists and leads all NHL blueliners with a plus-8 rating. Montoya, who filled in early for a flu-stricken Carey Price, is 2-0-1 with a 1.30 goals-against average and .962 save percentage. Price, the 2014-15 Hart Memorial Trophy winner (NHL MVP), looks in form after playing just 12 games last season because of a knee injury.

2. A fresher Ghost
Shayne Gostisbehere went off for three points (one goal, two assists) in the Flyers’ 6-3 win over the Hurricanes on Saturday, his biggest output of the season.

It just so happened to come in a game in which Gostisbehere registered his lowest ice time of the season at 16:45, a significant drop from his previous low of 20:57. Before the defenseman’s three-point game, Gostisbehere played an average of 23:14 over the prior three games while totaling one point and a minus-3 rating.

Is it a coincidence Gostisbehere’s best game yet was in far less ice time? Maybe, but the 23-year-old is playing the Flyers’ most minutes (21:29 per game) after undergoing offseason surgery and finishing the longest year of his hockey life.

Defensemen Mark Streit (22:45), Nick Schultz (19:44) and Brandon Manning (18:41) all played season highs in minutes on Saturday, and there’s no way that was by mistake.

If head coach Dave Hakstol can manage Gostisbehere’s ice time and not rely so heavily on the second-year blueliner, it can only help the Flyers. A more rested Gostisbehere is a better Gostisbehere — and we all know how vital the 2015-16 Calder Trophy runner-up is to the Flyers’ power-play success, as well as defensive coverage.

3. Stop and start
Speaking of defensive coverage, while the Flyers are scoring quite a bit, they’re not stopping anyone. The orange and black are surrendering 3.80 goals per game — tied for fifth most in the NHL — which is exactly what they score on average.

The Flyers can’t consistently bank on winning goal-fests.

Starting fast will be critical against the Canadiens, who close games as well as anyone. Montreal is outscoring its opposition 17-6 through the second and third periods. The Flyers have just one goal in the first period.

Facing this Habs team, it’ll be problematic if the Flyers fail to get going early.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Matt Read, why not? With five goals, the 30-year-old is astoundingly tied for second in the NHL with Maple Leafs phenom Auston Matthews. Last season, it took Read 29 games to score five goals. The previous season, he needed 56 games. This year, just five. Until he comes back to Earth, Read will be worth watching as much as any other Flyer.

Canadiens: The 22-year-old Alex Galchenyuk racked up career highs last season in goals (30) and points (56). To start this season, the 2012 No. 3 overall pick has a goal and four assists in five games. Young and offensive-minded, Galchenyuk has given the Flyers trouble in the past with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 11 career games against them.

5. This and that
• Steve Mason has played in the Flyers’ last four games with three starts and one relief appearance. Michal Neuvirth has not played since last Tuesday. He is 6-4-2 with a 2.14 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 13 lifetime games against Montreal.

• Price is 11-9-0 with a 2.61 GAA and .916 save percentage in 21 career games against the Flyers.

• Jakub Voracek leads the Flyers in points with seven but is third in the NHL in penalty minutes with 24.

• The Canadiens have won three straight games by a combined score of 13-4.

• Defenseman Michael Del Zotto (knee) and forward Scott Laughton (knee) returned to practice on Sunday.