Flyers keep playoff hopes alive, regain structure at Rangers

Flyers' Bobby Brink
Philadelphia Flyers right wing Bobby Brink (10) celebrates with center Ryan Poehling (25) after scoring against the New York Rangers during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 11, 2024, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

John Tortorella emphasized regaining structure as a main priority. Last night wasn’t solely about keeping postseason hopes alive, though the Philadelphia Flyers (37-32-11) did. It was about regaining dignity and worrying about their business. After hitting rock bottom in Montreal, the Flyers triumphed in Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers (53-23-4). The win, 4-1, was the first against an NHL Metropolitan Division opponent in the 2024 calendar year for Philadelphia.

“We kept our patience. If you try to go up and down the ice with that team, you just can’t get it done. They’re just too good. I thought our structure in the neutral zone was really good.”

John Tortorella; 4/11/2024

Cam York put the Flyers ahead with an early goal, 1-0, joining the rush in the offensive zone. After lighting the lamp, his effort was contagious in the defensive and neutral zones with Sean Couturier. York, who has one of the most active sticks of all the defensemen in Philadelphia, kept breaking up the forecheck and getting into passing lanes. Couturier alleviated with a defensive zone clear.

A simplified game helped the Flyers immensely. Usually, they’re giving up goals in space during four-on-four hockey. Not last night against a potent attack. Erik Johnson worked the puck in on Jonathan Quick for a spin-o-rama attempt, and then chopped back at the Rangers in the defensive zone to avoid being out of place in space. The four-on-four expired without a blemish, but an extremely abbreviated powerplay expired for Philadelphia with Jacob Trouba in the penalty box; 0/4 on the man-advantage.

Joel Farabee and Johnson both served penalties to give New York a five-on-three advantage. Farabee served the too many men on the ice penalty and Johnson was booked for charging. An elite powerplay beat an elite penalty kill once; the Flyers finished 3/4 in man-down situations. Adam Fox located Artemi Panarin for the stick-side strike on Sam Ersson, 1-1.

Bobby Brink scored the eventual game-winner. Philadelphia leads the NHL with 33 goals scored by rookies. The drop pass by Ryan Poehling wasn’t accepted smoothly, but Brink recovered to beat Quick, 2-1.

Travis Konecny had a great night. He made K’Andre Miller look foolish often. Konecny had an earlier assist, shaking Miller to the ice before locating York to begin the scoring. Then, Miller served a blatant boarding penalty after hitting Konecny into the boards from behind. Konecny answered with a goal, 3-1, from another primary assist by Poehling.

“I ran out of position, defensively, and then we got back, and it’s been part of our success this year, just waiting for opportunities on transition. We got a turnover, then all the forwards and York did a great job driving the net, creating space, and Poehls [Poehling] made an awesome play.”

Travis Konecny; 4/11/2024

Noah Cates potted the final nail in the coffin. He entered the neutral zone on the rush, kept the puck, got in close on Quick, and stuffed home the scoring chance, 4-1.

“We’ve been a rush team all year long. It’s been tough for us to get going in this time of [the] year, the way teams are playing. I think we’ve lost a little bit of our transition, but tonight we found a way. Two years ago, all we did was forecheck and try to score goals. This year, it’s been a different team off of transition, and I think it is fed off of being good defensively because that’s where you get your turnovers, and you get going the other way.”

John Tortorella; 4/11/2024

Unfortunately, across the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings went to overtime. The Penguins won, which was the worst possible outcome for the Flyers’ postseason odds. The Washington Capitals did lose to the Buffalo Sabres, but the New York Islanders came back against the Montreal Canadiens. Philadelphia still needs to win out and beg for a miracle, but they’re fighting for the second NHL Wildcard position, not third place in the NHL Metropolitan Division.

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. The puck drops at 5pm.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)