Following a two-game skid, Claude Giroux helps will the Philadelphia Flyers to a win tonight versus the New York Rangers.
Looking for redemption from six nights ago, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the New York Rangers for the second time this season. Last time out, the Flyers were without their captain, Claude Giroux. He returns to the lineup as Philadelphia seeks redemption following a two-game skid.
Currently, the Flyers are fifth in the Mass Mutual Eastern Division standings. A win tonight could propel them back into the playoff race. The Rangers are without Artemi Panarin, who secured a game-winning shootout goal last Thursday. Tonight, Brian Elliott looks to put Philadelphia back on track versus Igor Shesterkin. Could Elliott and company get back into the win column?
Elliott made a handful of spectacular saves in the first period, robbing the Rangers of scoring chances. The Flyers set the pace early through strong skating from their defense. Robert Hagg skated through Kevin Rooney, leaving him on his back. Rewarding the effort, Erik Gustafsson scored his first of the season. Following a powerplay, Shayne Gostisbehere moved the puck to Gustafsson to set up the scoring play.
One minute later, the Rangers answered on the powerplay. Sean Couturier served a holding penalty. Chris Kreider was the opportunist on the rebound. Philadelphia began the night 0/1 on the penalty kill, an area they’ve struggled in all season. When Justin Braun returns to the ice, he’ll look to extend help to the penalty kill unit.
Back on the powerplay, the Flyers had an opportunity at redemption. Giroux notched his second assist on the evening, this time with Gustafsson. Gostisbehere scored on the powerplay, pouncing on the puck after a shot by Gustafsson missed wide. After the powerplay goal, Philadelphia’s penalty kill redeemed itself with Nicolas Aube-Kubel in the box. The Flyers would lead, 2-1, at the end of the first period.
Alain Vigneault began the second period with the same lineup that set the tone in the first. Both goaltenders made huge saves in the opening stages. Shesterkin broke first in the second period, allowing another powerplay goal. A theme this season, James van Riemsdyk scored on the man-advantage. He’s making a strong case to remain in Philadelphia through the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.
In the second period, the Flyers remained consistent. Shesterkin made crucial saves to help kill a five-on-three powerplay. Rewarding his efforts, Kreider notched his second powerplay goal of the contest. Connor Bunnaman served two minutes for interference. The penalty kill has been the low point for Philadelphia throughout the first two periods.
Samuel Morin wouldn’t allow the second period to get away from the Flyers. His physicality revitalized the team. Giroux notched his third assist in his return from COVID protocol when Kevin Hayes sniped top shelf. To this point, Philadelphia had its best team performance in 2020-2021, incomparable to their second period six nights ago versus the Rangers.
Flyers Close It Out
The Rangers began the third period on the powerplay while Carsen Twarynski served for boarding. No powerplay goal this time around as the Flyers penalty kill improved to 2/4. A powerplay was not necessary this time around, however. Kreider secured the hat trick during even-strength hockey. Philadelphia has allowed as many hat tricks as they’ve had this season.
To their credit, the Flyers’ penalty kill unit recovered in the third period. After Farabee served his two minutes, he escaped with a breakaway against Shesterkin. Shesterkin made an even better save, which became routine in the final frame of regulation. Both goaltenders had their moments, but Elliott was truly stellar against everyone not named Kreider. Philadelphia gets back into the win column, 4-3, while outshooting their opponent for the second time this season.
- 1st Star- Claude Giroux (3 assists)
- 2nd Star- Chris Kreider (3 goals)
- 3rd Star- Shayne Gostisbehere (1 goal, 1 assist)
Up Next for the Flyers
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. The puck drop is slated for 1pm. All the action will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia and ESPN+.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre