Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 74: NYR 4, PHI 0 – Black and Blueshirts
Yay, progress. The Philadelphia Flyers lose, not by seven goals tonight, but just by four, to the New York Rangers. Make it back-to-back games the Flyers have lost by four-plus goals, something they hadn’t done before since Jan. 6. Yes, tonight’s game did involve an empty-netter. And it was on the second half of a back-to-back (although it was the same for the Rangers). But the Flyers ultimately failed to score on New York’s Alex Georgiev, suffering their first shutout loss since March 1.
But the biggest loss for the Flyers wasn’t the hockey game tonight. It was in the six different players who were injured on Tuesday. We knew Cam Atkinson and Carter Hart missed the final two periods of that game with lower-body injuries. Neither played tonight, with Hart a potential candidate to miss the rest of the season. Patrick Brown will definitely have that fate, as Mike Yeo announced his season is over because of an upper-body injury. Rasmus Ristolainen, Cam York, and Nate Thompson also suffered injuries of their own that sidelined them on Wednesday. Again, that is six players injured. In one game.
The result was a skeleton version of the skeleton version of the 2021-22 Flyers, and the ending predictably wasn’t great. The start actually was, though. The Flyers took seven of the game’s first eight shots, spending a lot of time in the offensive zone against a Rangers team who has struggled to drive play this season. Philadelphia racked up a 72.84% expected goals share in the first twenty minutes. It was undoubtedly a dominant start for the home side. But when you fail to capitalize on just a one-sided start, especially a team as poor, or at very least unproven as the roster that took the ice for the Flyers on Wednesday, it can build momentum the other way. And that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday.
An early goal against can do that, too. Kaapo Kakko’s goal on shot No. 4 of the game for the Rangers completely flipped the contest on its head. Not only did it give the Rangers a 1-0 lead, but it also marked the end of Philadelphia’s territorial dominance. The Rangers controlled play in the second and played a very successful bend-but-don’t-break third period, holding the Flyers to just six shots in a third period they spent trailing by three-plus goals.
Poor net-front coverage and failed clears by the Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim pair doomed the Flyers. Felix Sandström played well in his second NHL game, and perhaps he could’ve stopped Kakko’s first goal. But the Flyers gave him no goal support and the Rangers’ second and third goals, scored by Kakko and Artemi Panarin, were backdoor tap-ins that not even Igor Shestkerin could’ve stopped. While the bevy of injuries meant looks at even more kids (more on them below) and some glimpses of future promise, it was also yet another reminder of how bleak the present is for the Orange and Black.
The Flyers made three emergency call-ups for Wednesday’s game, one at each main position: Tanner Lacyznski up-front, Egor Zamula on the back-end, and Sandström in net. Laczynski did lose Kakko in front on the 2-0 goal. Zamula was excellent, though, leading Flyers defensemen with an 80.12% expected goals share. “I thought our young kids did well for us tonight,” said Yeo, highlighting Zamula and Sandström a bit more than Laczynski. He also said Bobby Brink “took a step,” particularly at 5-on-5.
One cool thing about tonight’s game: the Flyers honored Ed Snider, their late founder, and owner who passed away six years ago on Monday. After all of the flack that the Flyers took for not mentioning Snider on his birthday, it was nice to see him get the recognition he obviously deserves.
Panarin’s goal extended his point streak against the Flyers to six games, dating back to last season. The 2016 Calder
stealer from Shayne Gostisbehere winner has 37 points in 26 games against the Flyers, according to Sportsnet.
Finally, perhaps the most positive development from tonight’s game.
3rd: Artemi Panarin (NYR) – Goal (22), 4 Shots, 20:28 TOI
2nd: Kaapo Kakko (NYR) – 2 Goals (6, 7), 4 Shots
1st: Alexandar Georgiev (NYR) – 28-Save Shutout on 2.6 Expected Goals Against (All Situations)
NYR: 4/16, 12:30 PM vs. DET (28-35-10, L1)
PHI: 4/16, 7 PM @ BUF (27-37-11, W1)
All Advanced Stats are 5-on-5 unless otherwise stated and via Natural Stat Trick
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