The Flyers have finished up their series with the New York Rangers and predictably, it ended with a barrage of goals and only one of them scored by the travelling team. The Rangers put up a solid 4 goal effort, ending the series in a very fitting way after frankly dominating their rivals all season long. Here are five things we learned about Philadelphia in the loss.
There have been plenty of players to frustrate the Flyers this season, but Chris Kreider has been among the most consistent. The opening goal of the game came off of his stick in what became his fourth against the Flyers in 2021. Along with Mika Zibanejad, who notched a hat-trick in that 9-0 blowout, Kreider has been tricky to tame this season.
Zibanejad picked up another pair of assists himself this tonight, meaning he now has 24 points against the Flyers through 33 games. Over half of those points have come in the past month alone. He has 7 goals and 10 assists against the Flyers in 2021. Ouch.
The curse continues
The Flyers seem to love doing this thing where they score a goal and concede within a blink of an eye, undoing their hard work. That was exactly the case again against the Rangers. Oskar Lindblom scored his seventh of the season only for it to be nullified a little over a minute later thanks to Pavel Buchnevich, who restored a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period and one they would go on to keep for the remainder of the game.
Summing up the season
The Flyers did show signs of life in the third period and actually found the back of the net. Unfortunately, that goal was taken off the board due to a goalie interference call after James Van Riemsdyk was pushed into Alexandar Georgiev. As if JVR hadn’t gone through enough in front of goal over the past 24 hours...
Wthin a heartbeat, Alexis Lafreniere capitalized on a flailing Flyers team to put the game out of reach.
The Lyon purrs
Brian Elliott won’t be around forever and at some point, the Flyers are going to need to find their backup goalie of the future (we’re not inciting Carter Hart debates this evening). Alex Lyon looks increasingly comfortable in the NHL and despite giving up a sloppy final goal, he actually turned in a pretty solid performance in what was one of the few times we’ve seen him start, saving 24 shots in total.
There’s a long way to go for Lyon, who came into this game having allowed 6 goals on 50 shots through two appearances, but it’s not like he was disastrously poor or struggled. He remained composed for the majority of the game, although aided by a very quiet second period, and will definitely seek to give the team food for thought with the expansion draft looming and plenty of roster decisions to be made for the long-term.
Jackson Cates makes his debut
Every cloud has a silver lining and Jackson Cates making his NHL debut acted as a burst of sunshine in an otherwise dismal day. His brother, Noah Cates, is a left-wing formerly selected by Philadelphia. Jackson signed with the Flyers a couple of weeks ago and was coming off of a solid campaign with Minnesota college, where he racked up 27 points in 28 games.
Cates amassed 11:19 of ice time and went 5-for-8 on face offs. He had three shot attempts and stayed neutral in the +/- mark. Not a bad outing for the young center, who replaced Nolan Patrick on the fourth line.
All in all it was a pretty frustrating day for the Flyers, but that has become the norm for the time being. All we can do is try and extract the positives and build a to-do list of what changes need to be made this offseason. The next couple of weeks will be huge for the young guns, no matter how bleak the bigger picture might look.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre