The Philadelphia Flyers are back in the win column!
It wasn’t easy, but the Flyers fended off the New York Rangers for a 4-3 win at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night.
Claude Giroux was back, and it showed. The captain had three assists and several great scoring chances throughout the game.
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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. That was a common theme in the game, but he still made a huge impact.
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. His first of three on the night.
The Flyers got it back on their next power play.
Gostisbehere found the back of the net for the first time this season.
Giroux and Patrick combined for a nice play in the final minute of the frame to set up a scoring chance.
The Flyers lead 2-1 after one period of play, and deservedly so based on their 5-on-5 play.
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).
Then things got sloppy.
The Flyers did not play as well in the second 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.
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 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.
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 bad penalty to take.
The Flyers enter the second intermission with a 4-2 lead. They are outshooting the Rangers 29-19.
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.
Fortunately, that would be it for the Rangers. The Flyers had a few late chances, including this one after Giroux stripped Anthony Bitetto in the Rangers zone.
That put the Flyers on the power play late in the game. They didn’t score, but it was two minutes of relatively stress-free hockey. “Relatively” because the Flyers gave up a shorthanded breakaway to Zibanejad – his second of the game – but Elliott made the save.
The Flyers were able to hold their lead for the 4-3 victory.