We’re going to try something new here at Philly Hockey Now. Rather than having just a standard postgame recap, we’re going to go period by period with thoughts, analysis, and whatever comes across our minds.
Sometimes plays that are important in the first period get cut out of the bigger story of the game. Fleeting Flyers Thoughts is an attempt to give an accurate picture of how the game unfolds.
We’ll update this at every intermission and at the end of the game.
Flyers vs. Rangers third-period thoughts
The Flyers were able to kill off the rest of the penalty, but then things went downhill a bit.
The Rangers continued to push play and nearly connected on an odd-man rush. However, Patrick made a good stick lift on the backcheck to slow down the rush.
But the Flyers couldn’t keep the Rangers down.
Kreider completed the hat trick with another tap-in goal. The Flyers got outworked in the crease and Kreider made them pay.
That’s not something that you like to see. The Flyers need to outnumber and overpower the opposition in front of the net on both sides of the ice, but particularly in front of their own net.
Flyers vs. Rangers second-period thoughts
The Flyers did not play as well in the period. In 10:47 of 5-on-5 time, the Flyers got out-attempted 17-9 (34.62% CF for the Flyers), outshot 8-5, and out-chanced 8-7. They had just 26.45% of the expected goals share.
The top-six forwards had a good start to the period. The top line, in particular, had a great cycle in the offensive zone and eventually drew a penalty.
Then, the members of the top line went to work on the power play. After Giroux’s unit (technically the second unit tonight) left the ice, the top unit got it done.
Farabee sent a fantastic cross-ice pass to JVR for an easy tap-in goal.
These two are on fire.
Quick thought: If this top line can be a thing for the foreseeable future, the Flyers can be really dangerous when the rest of their players on the COVID list come back. It gives a great duo of Hayes and Giroux, allowing the third line to flourish even more.
It was the Flyers’ second power-play goal of the game, and they had a great opportunity to get another one.
With back-to-back high-sticking and delay of game penalties, the Flyers had 1:38 of 5-on-3 time. They were able to get set up for most of it and create shots on goal, but none of them could get past Igor Shesterkin.
And that missed opportunity quickly cost them.
The Rangers gained momentum and scored on their next power play. The power play came after a penalty on Connor Bunnaman. The Flyers can’t afford to have their bottom six hurt them too much, but NAK and Bunnaman both taking penalties isn’t good.
After the Rangers made it 3-2 with that power-play goal, the third line got hemmed in their own zone yet again. Luckily for the Flyers, nothing came of it.
The Flyers had a great chance on an odd-man rush with the top line on the ice, but they didn’t get a shot off until the defense was set up. In fact, they passed the puck instead of shooting it. That has been an issue for the Flyers and it’s something they really need to improve upon.
Shot quantity and quality are both important. The Flyers got neither on a dangerous odd-man rush.
The period opened up a bit after the Rangers’ power play. Both teams had some odd-man rushes, with the Flyers passing up a few shots, but nothing came of them.
Then it was Kevin Hayes to extend the Flyers’ lead back to two goals with an amazing shot.
The Rangers got a late power play after another bad penalty by a bottom-six forward. Carsen Twarynski, in his season debut, boarded Ryan Lindgren.
New York didn’t score in their first 1:31 of power-play time to end the period, but given how the Flyers penalty kill has looked, it was a really dumb penalty to take.
The Flyers enter the second intermission with a 4-2 lead. They are outshooting the Rangers 29-19.
Through two periods, eight different Flyers are on the scoresheet. Three Flyers have multiple points: Giroux has three assists, Gostisbehere and Gustafsson each have a goal and assist.
The Flyer are going to need to play better than they did in the second period in order to close this out.
Flyers vs. Rangers first-period thoughts
The Flyers got out to a really fast start against the Rangers. The top line started the game and immediately put the pressure on with both Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere activating in the offensive zone. The second line was able to come on the ice with the puck still in the offensive zone as well.
Claude Giroux had a great chance on his first shift, but it didn’t go.
He didn’t look too out of place out there. Though it was weird not seeing him on the top power-play unit.
Giroux played 7:36 in the first period – 5:43 at 5v5, 1:15 on the power play, and 0:37 on the penalty kill. He had four shot attempts (all on net) in total, including two scoring chances. So yeah, he’s back.
The Flyers continued to buzz and the Rangers took a too many men penalty heading into the first commercial break.
The power play didn’t score, but both units had some good puck movement and chances.
However, right after the power play ended, Gostisbehere made a nice pass to Gustafsson who blasted home his first as a Flyer.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Rangers scored four seconds into their first power play after Sean Couturier was called for holding. Kreider snuck behind the defense and had an easy tap-in goal. Not a good look for Provorov here.
The Giroux-Hayes connection was on display at times in the period. It’s a nice luxury to have that duo as a second-line option, with Patrick hopefully able to improve his play on their wing.
It’d be nice to see Patrick control this puck into the slot and get a shot off rather than pass the puck back to open ice.
He redeemed himself a few minutes later, however, with some good work on the power play. It eventually ended up with Gostisbehere finding the back of the net for the first time this season.
Patrick had another nice play in the final minute of the frame to set up a scoring chance.
The Rangers had a dangerous chance in the waning seconds but missed the net wide.
The Flyers lead 2-1 after one period of play, and deservedly so based on their 5-on-5 play. Their special teams play is another story.
In 14:38 of 5-on-5 play, the Flyers had a 68% CF (17-8 shot attempts) and 69.78% xGF. They had the advantage in shots on goal (10-3), scoring chances (8-3), and high-danger chances (4-1).