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Philadelphia Flyers

Undermanned Flyers whipped by Rangers and suffer 40th loss for 2nd time in history

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Felix Sandstrom, Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Felix Sandstrom played in his second NHL game Wednesday against the NY Rangers.

The Philadelphia Flyers, decimated by injuries, used a lineup that looked more like the Lehigh Valley Phantoms when they faced the powerful New York Rangers on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers had six players injured in Tuesday’s loss in Washington, and they were unable to play Wednesday. So Philly used seven rookies against the Rangers, including goalie Felix Sandstrom, who made the second NHL appearance of his career.

Predictably, the Rangers coasted, 4-0, including an empty-net tally.

The Flyers, forced to use six players with a combined 23 games of NHL experience, fell to 23-40-11. It was the second time in franchise history they had lost 40 games; the only other time was in 2006-07 (22-48-12).

Philly. coming off a 9-2 beatdown by Washington the previous night, dominated the early part of the game before the Rangers gradually took control.

“I don’t think effort was an issue tonight,” interim coach Mike Yeo said. “Phenomenal start. Really came out flying and dominating the shots. The guys played hard tonight.”

They were just outmanned by a Rangers team that has 102 points — 45 more than the Flyers.

New York improved to 48-21-6 and moved to within two points of first-place Carolina in the Metropolitan Division.

Kakko scores 2

Kaapo Kakko’s second goal of the night — and just his seventh of a poor season — gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead with 11:33 left in the second period. The right winger went around center Tanner Laczynski and beat Sandstrom from out front.

Laczynski was one of three players the Flyers recalled from the Phantoms on an emergency basis Wednesday. Sandstrom and defenseman Egor Zamula, who was with Kevin Connauton on the No. 2 pairing, were the other callups.

Sandstrom was solid in the nets, Zamula logged 22:01 of ice time, had two shots and played strong defense, and Laczynski, besides one defensive lapse, didn’t seem out of place. He had three hits and blocked a shot in 9:27.

With 8:57 left in the second, unguarded Artemi Panarin made it 3-0 from the doorstep, converting a long pass from defenseman Jacob Trouba. Again, Sandstrom had no chance.

Surprisingly, the Flyers dominated the first half of the opening period, outshooting the Rangers, 8-2, and keeping the puck in New York’s end.

But the Flyers left Kakko uncovered and he drove to the net and scored from the slot with 9:40 left in the first, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

New York dominated the rest of the period, outshooting the Flyers, 11-2, to finish the stanza.

Sandstrom, 25, who couldn’t be faulted on Kakko’s first goal, was solid in the opening 20 minutes as he stopped 12 of 13 shots. He resembled the confident goalie who made 43 saves — the most in franchise history for a player making his NHL debut — in the Flyers’ 3-2 overtime loss in San Jose on Dec. 30.

The Sweden native made six saves while the Philadelphia Flyers killed a five-on-three for 1:55. He finished with 30 saves on 33 shots.

“He played great,” said defenseman Ivan Provorov, who was minus-3 in the game. “I mean, there were a ton of tough chances on the five-on-three. He had (good) moments throughout the second and third period. I don’t think we could have asked more from him.”

Down the other end, Rangers backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev was superb, stopping 28 shots. He entered the night with a 3.03 GAA and an .894 save percentage.

Breakaways

Zack MacEwen, playing his first game since he was injured fighting Wayne Simmonds on April 2, had eight hits in 8:24. … The Flyers suffered their sixth shutout of the season. … Carter Hart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Cam Atkinson, Patrick Brown, Nate Thompson and Cam York were injured Tuesday and unable to play against the Rangers. York was injured blocking a shot by Alex Ovechkin. … Kevin Hayes had eight shot attempts (two on goal) and Owen Tippett had six (one on goal). … Hundreds (thousands?) of Rangers fans were at the game. … The Rangers won the season series, three games to one, and outscored the Flyers, 14-6. … The Flyers play in Buffalo on Saturday, then host the Sabres on Easter Sunday.

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