Rangers takeover the Flyers in OT, 3-2

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Rangers' Vladimir Tarasenko
New York Rangers’ Vladimir Tarasenko celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In the last game before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the New York Rangers.

If you were listening to the game, you could believe it was a home game for the Rangers. Their fans made the trip, seemingly outnumbering Flyers fans at the Wells Fargo Center. The arena sang goal songs typically heard at Madison Square Garden.

John Tortorella addressed the takeover by the Rangers crowd after the game. Philadelphia, as an organization, is exclusively to blame:

“We make our own bed. We need to get this [in] the right direction; maybe someday those tickets are hard to come by. Don’t blame anyone else, blame us. This is what we’ve made; hopefully, along the way we get this turned around, [but] I’m not sure when.”

John Tortorella; 3/1/2023

Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers

Scott Laughton took the only penalty for the Flyers in an otherwise very disciplined performance. Unfortunately, Mika Zibanejad converted, giving the Rangers a perfect powerplay on the evening. Vladimir Tarasenko, who was off the charts in his playmaking ability, centered the puck for Zibanejad on the one-timer that beat Carter Hart; 1-0.

Shortly after, Philadelphia began a string of powerplay chances. Aside from the first period, the rest of the game was clean. Slowly, the momentum swung away from the Rangers with each penalty committed. Jacob Trouba served in the box for tripping. Before the end of the first, Owen Tippett cleaned up a loose puck from the boards on the powerplay to tie the game; 1-1.

“Tipper was all over it tonight, making a ton of plays. We’re going to need him to be our best player, or one of ’em, down the stretch, and be our game-breaker.”

Scott Laughton; 3/1/2023

Tippett didn’t back off. He had more high-quality scoring chances in the second period but missed. Forechecking curated those chances, including an opportunity that rang off the post from Wade Allison. Eventually, the forechecking paid off, and Laughton redeemed his earlier penalty. He snuck from behind the net on Igor Shesterkin before sniping stick side, 2-1.

“Laughts isn’t going to change. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing a pick-up game; he’s going to compete. Those are the type of people you need to drag everybody in as we keep playing these games.”

John Tortorella; 3/1/2023

After two periods, the Flyers began to get stuck in their defensive zone too often. Eventually, Tarasenko put a shot on goal from the point, and Chris Kreider tied the game with a deflection, 2-2. The Rangers regained momentum following a blown lead by Philadelphia. Shesterkin turned away another shot from Tippett in the closing seconds of regulation to bring the tilt into overtime.

In overtime, Tortorella elected to begin with Ivan Provorov, Cam York, and Laughton. Tippett changed in place of Laughton, but a failed entry stalled a three-on-three chance for the Flyers. Next, the Rangers controlled the puck, working the wings, but Philadelphia pinched well enough on defense.

Tarasenko, with speed on his entry, found a crease. He scored the game-winner, 3-2.

Owen Tippett (+)

He had a grip on the pace of the action. His progression into a power-forward role is satisfying. Had he connected on any of those second-period scoring chances, it might’ve helped propel the Flyers to a victory. Laughton nailed the assessment about Tippett needing to become a game-breaker. Refining his finish in the final quarter of the regular season would be a critical asset to next season.

“You could sense he was free, he was playing; he was looking at me, wanting to play more. I’ve said it to you all year long, it’s an encouraging sign with that kid as far as what he’s going to be for this team.”

John Tortorella; 3/1/2023

Travis Konecny is missing from the lineup, possibly for the remainder of the season. Lately, Tortorella placed more responsibility with Tippett, including some experiments on the penalty kill. He hasn’t sacrificed offense while working on his two-hundred-foot game. Tippett has three goals in the last five games, putting him second in team goal-scoring behind Konecny. They’ll become the bread-and-butter of goal-scoring in Philadelphia in the rebuild.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)