Observations from Flyers’ latest loss: Cam York and Oskar Lindblom shine, but Philly blows late lead
The Philadelphia Flyers’ swoon is picking up speed.
They dropped a 3-2 decision Saturday night to the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center as their losing streak stretched to seven games.
The Rangers, the first-place team in the Metropolitan Division, scored two late goals to erase a 2-1 deficit.
Here are some observations:
1. Defenseman Cam York continues to look as if he should stay with the Flyers — even when Rasmus Ristolainen returns to the lineup.
York has not looked overmatched in any of his five NHL games this season, and he collected his first career goal on a long one-timer with 9:49 left, giving the Flyers a brief 2-1 lead.
Ristolainen, who came off the COVID list Saturday but was not quite ready to play, is expected to be in the lineup Monday against the host Islanders. When he returns, he figures to go back on the second-pairing with Travis Sanheim.
Don’t be surprised if York, who was paired with Sanheim on Saturday, stays with the team and is on the third pairing with Keith Yandle. If that happened, Nick Seeler would likely come out of the lineup.
After York’s goal Saturday, he looked at the rafters and let out a scream of joy.
“I feel good. I feel like I’m doing the right things,” York said after blocking three shots and earning a plus-2 rating in 22:02. “I’m just trying to come to work every single day, and the guys around me have been great and making me feel comfortable out there. And I think that helps.”
Just 37 seconds after York’s tally, the Rangers’ Filip Chytil tied it with 9:12 left in regulation. Less than three minutes later, Chris Kreider tipped Adam Fox’ shot past Carter Hart, who had lost his stick.
That gave the Blueshirts a 3-2 lead and, suddenly, York’s memorable goal became just a footnote in the game.
On the game-winning goal, interim coach Mike Yeo thought his team looked tentative.
“We have to be able to play with confidence, and that’s with the puck and without the puck,” Yeo said. “… I don’t think we looked strong enough in that particular shift, whether that was nerves or whatever the case was.”
On Kreider’s decisive goal, Hart apparently lost his stick in a collision with a teammate.
“The stick gets bumped out of my hands; the guy shoots the puck and he tips it under that arm, so it’s definitely tough to try to re-establish that seal,” Hart said. “So it’s jut a tough break. We came out hard in the third period and just didn’t get rewarded at the end.”
.@NHLFlyers defenseman @camyork2 displays his first NHL goal. Photo: Zack Hill. pic.twitter.com/8ecSPDE2ax
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 16, 2022
2. The Flyers got off to a slow start. This is not a recording. Maybe it should be.
Their passing was sloppy in the first 10 minutes, and it took them almost 11 minutes to register a shot on goal. By then, they were already in a 1-0 hole.
“For the most part, we looked like a team that was a little nervous,” Yeo said.
A poor start didn’t help the Flyers in their 3-2 loss Thursday in Boston, either. Philly has allowed the first goal in five of its last six games.
3. Left winger Oskar Lindblom is quietly regaining his form.
Lindblom was promoted to the second line Saturday, and he attacked the net and was in the right place at the right time with 8:15 left in the first, backhanding a rebound past Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin to tie the score at 1-1.
“It was a tap-in, but one of those goals you love to score,” said Lindblom, who won a lot of one-on-one puck battles and was one of the Flyers’ best players in the game.
The goal gave Lindblom 10 points (five goals, five assists) over his last 15 games.
.@oskarlindblom has five goals over his last 15 games. #Flyers https://t.co/nNT8nUw08l
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 16, 2022
4. Mika Zibanejad looks like the second coming of Wayne Gretzky when he faces the Flyers.
Since the start of last season, the Rangers’ 6-2, 200-pound center has played 10 games against the Flyers and has eight goals and 12 assists. He opened the scoring Saturday by whipping a left-circle one-timer past Hart while the Rangers were on a power play.
5. Gerry Mayhew, 29, gave the Flyers some quality minutes.
Mayhew was placed on a line with Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk, and the journeyman right winger was noticeable with his physical play. He finished with a game-high five hits.
The Flyers outhit the Rangers, 33-23, and had a 54-52 edge in shot attempts. But some late defensive breakdowns — and some bad luck, like Hart losing his stick — cost them.
Lou Nolan, the Flyers’ legendary public-address announcer, missed the game because of COVID, and was replaced by Steve Kramarck, a University of Delaware graduate. … Cam Atkinson led the Flyers with four shots, but he had his five-game points streak snapped. … Philly’s last win was a 4-3 OT triumph over Ottawa on Dec. 18. … Kreider’s goal was his seventh in the last 11 games. … The Flyers have scored two goals or fewer in five straight games.