What a game and what a great team effort in the loss against the Rangers. The game had the feeling of a playoff atmosphere from the first drop of the puck. The Flyers entered the game 20-14-5, and were coming off an 0-2-1 road trip out west. They were losers of their last four games, and staring at them was a goaltender who seems to give them fits almost every time he plays them, Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers lost the night before to the lowly Buffalo Sabres 4-1 at home. This must have fueled the Rangers, as Mason was out dueled by Henrik “The King” Lundqvist.
Wayne Simmonds stated on Tuesday, “This wasn’t our best road trip. We thought we needed to compete harder and battle more. We did that in the 4-3 shootout loss in Anaheim. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the results. You have to keep working at it.” Indeeed they did. Play started with both teams strong on the puck and both teams shutting each other down in the neutral zone.
The Rangers tried stretch passes, but the Flyers defense did well in shielding those plays. Brandon Manning who has been one of the steadiest defensemen thus far for the Flyers, had an early turnover in his own zone that lead to a nice save by Mason on JT Miller’s shot from the top of the circle.
At 10:18 into the first period Shayne Gostisbehere took the first penalty of the game on a hooking call. Once again Mason made two huge saves keeping the game scoreless, and it lead to a shorthanded breakaway by Wayne Simmonds that was saved by Lundqvist.
Ryan Mcdonaugh was called for a hooking penalty on the play, and it negated the rest of the Rangers power play. The Flyers had great puck movement on the power play, that saw Lundqvist making four huge saves on it to keep the game scoreless.
At the end of the first it was 0-0 thanks to outstanding goaltending by both goaltenders. The Rangers outshot the Flyers 9-8, while the Flyers won the face off total 60%-40%, and both teams were even in hits with 11.
The Flyers started off the 2nd period on a blazing start with three early shots, but Lundqvist had the answers yet again. Lundqvist standing tall in net lead to the Rangers first goal.
Kevin Hayes skated down the right side of the ice on a 2 on 1 advantage. Hayes deposited the puck into the net to make it 1-0 Rangers, and it was his first goal in 13 games. At 11:28 in the period, the Flyers got their 2nd power play of the game. Adam Clendening held Jake Voracek, but to the Flyers dismay Lundqvist turned aside two shots on that power play to keep the score 1-0.
The Flyers continued to pour the shots on Lundqvist, with 7 more shots on net to end the 2nd period. The period ended with the Flyers outshooting the Rangers 20-18 for the game, but found themselves trailing 1-0. The Flyers also controlled the majority of the play in the 2nd period thanks in large part to winning 16 faceoffs, as compared to the Rangers 4. The face off percentage at the end of the 2nd period was the Flyers 71% to the Rangers 29%.
The third period started with the Rangers off on a good note with three early shots. Mason had the answers early making save after save until the Flyers could find their legs in the third. Five minutes into the period the Flyers had two quality shots on net, but Lundqvist again had the answer keeping the score 1-0 Rangers.
From there the Rangers took control of the period and the game. At 14:59 Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan skated into the Flyers zone. Stepan threaded a pass over to Kreider, who scored five hole on Mason for the 2-0 lead.
With 8:47 remaining in the 3rd period Michael Grabner made it 3-0 on a pass from JT Miller. Miller threaded a pass from the left circle, back to Grabner for an easy slam dunk goal.
The Flyers with their never say die attitude all year, finally solved Lundqvist with 7:28 remaining in the third period. Jake Voracek scored a power play goal off the skate of Ryan Mcdonaugh to bring the score to 3-1.
With 5:45 remaining in the third period JT Miller entered the Flyers zone with Kevin Hayes. Miller passed it over to Hayes, and he deposited the puck behind Mason from the left circle. This made the score 4-1 Rangers.
Late in the third period with 2:52 to play Claude Giroux won a face off to Michael Del Zotto. Del zotto shot it on net, and Voracek scored his second on the night and 13th of the year, on a rebound making it 4-2 in favor of the Rangers.
The Flyers then pulled Mason with 2:30 left, and Michael Grabner scored on an empty netter making it 5-2. That’s how it would end, but lets not take away the effort the Flyers gave.
They outshot the Rangers 32-28 for the game, and won the face off margin 64% to the Rangers 36%. The deciding factor in the game was Henrik “The King” Lundqvist. The effort was there, the will was there, but the five game losing streak continues. Hopefully they will rebound on Saturday with a 1 pm tilt, against a team chasing them for the last wild card spot the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports