In the first game of a back-to-back set at Madison Square Garden, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Rangers, 3-2, on Thursday evening. The loss did grave damage to the Rangers' fading playoff hopes.
Brendan Smith (4th goal of the season) opened the scoring midway through the first period. James van Riemsdyk (PPG, 15th) tied the game in the latter stages of the second period.
JVR was injured on his first goal but returned in the third period to put the Flyers ahead (PPG, 16th) with 9:31 left in regulation. Jakub Voracek added a vital insurance goal (9th) before Artemi Panarin got a goal back (17th) on a 6-on-5.
Brian Elliott was excellent in goal, stopping 33 of 35 shots after the team got off to a slow start.
Igor Sheshterkin was also very solid in net for New York. He stopped 33 of 36 shots including a penalty shot.
The Flyers went 2-for-6 on the power play, and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
JVR's first power play deflection ppwet play goal was scary as the double-deflected shot struck him around the jaw. He second, a backhanded deflection during a K'Andre high sticking double minor, showed tremendous hands as the Flyers took a 2-1 lead. Ivan Provorov and Kevin Hayes got the assists.
1) In the early minutes of the first period, Elliott denied a Colin Blackwell breakaway backhander and Sheshterkin made a good pad save on Wade Allison off a rebound in front of the New York net. The Flyers killed off a Philippe Myers holding penalty but gave up a goal moments later as Elliott couldn't corral a Smith shot from the top of the right circle through a late screen by Brett Howden.
2) The Rangers had a 14-11 shot on goal edge and 13-6 scoring chance edge in the first period. New York attacked with pace. The Rangers generated a pair of shorthanded 2-on-1s on the same kill. The Flyers' best chance was a second prime opportunity for Allison; this time at the doorstep on the power play. Overall, Elliott was the Flyers' best player in the opening stanza.
3) The Rangers dominated the early minutes of the second period until Claude Giroux's line responses with a shift that hemmed in the Rangers. The teams traded off power plays and some sloppy play with the puck. Elliott made a 10-bell save on a Panarin one-timer on the power play.
4) The Flyers made a big push in the latter half of the second period. JVR painfully tied the game at 15:56 on a double-deflected goal. Konecny's point shot went off K'Andre Miller's stick and then off van Riemdyk's face into the net. JVR went straight off the ice. He returned early in the third period.
Farabee was awarded a penalty shot with 54.3 seconds left in the second period. He ran out of room on a backhander as Sheshterkin stayed with him.
5) JVR's backhanded deflection PPG in the third period put the Flyers in the driver's seat. Then, on a 2-on-1 with Claude Giroux driving the net, Voracek elected to shoot and beat Sheshterkin upstairs for an insurance goal at 14:07. The assists went to Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere.
The insurance goal proved vital. With Shesterkin pulled for an extra attacker, Mika Zibanejad won an offensive zone e faceoff to Adam Fox, who fed the deadly Panarin for a one-timer goal with 2:00 left. The Rangers continued to press but ran out of time.