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Flyers Takeaways: ‘Important’ Deslauriers Fight; Finishing Not Good Enough



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Matt Rempe's first NHL goal was the game-winner against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers lost a spirited home battle with the New York Rangers, losing 2-1 at a Wells Fargo Center that was flush with traveling blue shirts on Saturday afternoon.

Before the game had a chance to get off the ground, though, Nick Deslauriers dropped the gloves with Rangers rookie Matt Rempe in what is likely to be the best hockey fight of the year. In fact, it has a chance of being one of the better fights of the last decade.

Deslauriers probably got the worst of the fight; he was sporting a large red mark across his forehead in the locker room after the game, not to mention some blue bruises on his cheek and nose. For the Flyers enforcer, it’s all business at the end of the day.

“He’s tall!” Deslauriers quipped. “I’ve been in those shoes. You’re trying to prove something and stick in the league. At the same time, that’s what I bring.”

Deslauriers has often been the victim of the numbers game lately, finding himself a healthy scratch as a result of John Tortorella’s now-favored 11-forward, seven-defensemen lineup. The veteran enforcer knows that, especially at his age, it’s going to happen.

“At the age that I am, there’s going to be some nights that I’m not in. It’s easy when you win and you have a good group of guys like this,” Deslauriers reflected. “It sucks not playing, but at the same time, when you have success, the ultimate goal is to push ourselves to make the playoffs. Whatever it takes, I’m always ready.”

“Really important guy for us, D-Lo,” Tortorella said after the game. “That’s a good old fashioned hockey fight.”

This game between the Flyers and the Rangers was a typical one for two hated rivals – a tightly-checked affair with tempers flaring and few goals being scored.

New York, however, struck first in the second period, as Alexis Lafreniere buried a snap shot through Sam Ersson’s five hole, receiving a Vincent Trocheck drop pass and changing his release angle just prior to letting the shot go.

Tyson Foerster answered early in the third period with his 11th of the season, stamping his return from injury in style. Scott Laughton picked up the primary assist after blowing a tire on the wrap-around attempt.

The Rangers retook the lead just under four minutes later when a long-range Braden Schneider shot hit Barclay Goodrow, Rempe, and the back of the net. It was Rempe’s first NHL goal, which is impressive, given the circumstances. He has more penalty minutes (27) than minutes on the ice (15:03) and now has his first NHL goal (and point) to show for it.

Their one goal was about all the Flyers managed to create in this one, though. Travis Sanheim had a short-handed breakaway with Laughton just one step behind him, and instead of allowing a 2-on-0 to develop, Sanheim took it himself and was denied on his attempt.

With two minutes to go in the third period, Morgan Frost had an open goal to shoot on at the right circle thanks to a crafty setup from Jamie Drysdale, but he airmailed it rather than cooly depositing into the yawning cage. From that same spot, Sean Couturier had a similar opportunity to tie the game with five seconds left, but he sent his chance across the crease.

The Flyers just weren’t destined to win this one, and some might say that they didn’t deserve to win. They created few high-danger chances, and flubbed horribly on the ones they did have.

Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin continued his second-half resurgence, too, saving 2.29 goals above expected, per Moneypuck. He got some help from the famous injury bug, as Travis Konecny (upper-body) did not play. His status for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins is unclear.

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