Black Friday reminded the Philadelphia Flyers (10-9-1) how far away they are from becoming a hot ticket in the NHL. The New York Rangers (14-3-1) faithful didn’t take over the Wells Fargo Center as much as they did a season ago, but they were prevalent.
“It’s different. It’s a rivalry game and Black Friday; they [the New York Rangers] have great fans. I thought it was a great atmosphere and we got to build from it. Our [the Philadelphia Flyers] fans were a little more into it just because they had some more fans here. It’s part of it; it’s a big game.”Noah Cates; 11/24/2023
A couple of early goals sucked the wind out of the arena. John Tortorella deployed his bottom line to level the ice. The inability to capitalize on the powerplay and defensive miscues led to a perpetually sinking experience for the Broad Street crowd.
Here’s how it all happened in Philadelphia:
Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers
Mika Zibanejad is a noted Flyers killer. Chris Kreider found Blake Wheeler on a long cross-ice pass through the neutral zone, and Wheeler entered on an offensive rush with Zibanejad, who split Sean Walker and beat Carter Hart, 1-0, with 19:15 remaining in the first period. Kreider got the initial pass by Ryan Poehling, who Zibanejad beat to join the scoring rush.
“We talked about it in between periods that we’ve never seen so many odd-man rushes come at us; two-on-one’s, three-on-two’s. I think it was just because our [defense] are anticipating the play and trying to surf, hoping that our forwards are covering for them. The forwards were not, clearly. We were trying to cheat a little bit instead of erring out on the more cautious side and supporting our [defense]. That’s why they got so many chances and opportunities in the first.”Cam Atkinson; 11/24/2023
Kreider intercepted Travis Sanheim on a pass intended for Garnet Hathaway on a defensive zone faceoff just over a minute later. He scored on a point-blank shot, 2-0, with 18:07 remaining in the first period. Philadelphia allowed a couple of goals in less than a couple of minutes.
Jacob Trouba and Nicolas Deslauriers began to get chippy with each other. Trouba and Deslauriers did not fight, but Trouba did lay a solid body check on Hathaway. Hathaway was knocked off his skates and began exchanging fists with Barclay Goodrow.
Hart began to find a groove as the Rangers were on the powerplay. Joel Farabee served a minor penalty for hooking, but he was bailed out by stellar goaltending and a solid effort on the penalty kill by Cam Atkinson and Noah Cates. Overall, the Flyers finished 2/2 on the penalty kill after Artemi Panarin had a great chance to score in the second period but went to pass instead of taking the clear shooting opportunity.
Travis Konecny had a chance to score with Igor Shesterkin out of position, but Ryan Lindgren clogged the open net to block the shot. Wheeler served for tripping Owen Tippett, putting Philadelphia on their first powerplay, but none of the shots on goal threatened Shesterkin. Sanheim beat a defender off the faceoff but didn’t pull the trigger on a quick shot. On the powerplay, the Flyers seemed a little focused on making the passing play or picking a corner on the goaltender instead of putting more shots on goal, using traffic to score dirty. To those efforts, the powerplay finished 0/6.
Hathaway was back at it again after crushing Lindgren along the boards. Will Cuylle took exception, wrestled Hathaway, and took an instigation and game misconduct with him to the locker room.
Keeping his disruptive pace from the opening period, Hathaway steamrolled into the opposition. He banged Panarin into the boards, then crashed the crease where Shesterkin took a few shots at Hathaway from behind. It seemed like an old-school interaction between a goaltender and a pest forward.
Zibanejad, a pest to Philadelphia, scored another on a rush. He zipped past Tippett into the defensive zone where Sanheim couldn’t pinch as he popped a pass over to Wheeler on the wing. Wheeler passed back toward the crease, where Zibanejad finished with a poke, 3-0, with 12:19 remaining in the second period.
“We did not have any support.”John Tortorella; 11/24/2023
Sean Couturier did get the Flyers on the scoreboard. Off a faceoff win in the offensive zone by Atkinson, Nick Seeler took a shot from outside of the faceoff circle on the net. Couturier deflected the puck past Shesterkin, 3-1, with 2:21 remaining in the second period.
In the third period, Philadelphia went from a bad 0/4 on the powerplay to their poor but completed 0/6 finish. Tippett and Atkinson represented any vital signs from the Flyers in the third period, but Shesterkin earned the 3-1 win. Kreider almost extended the lead to 4-1 with a shorthanded goal, but the scoring play was called offside and overturned.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the New York Islanders tomorrow at the UBS Arena on Long Island. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:30pm.
(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)