After a disastrous loss at Lake Tahoe to the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers returned to Broad Street to face their rivals from Broadway, the New York Rangers. Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov would set an NHL record at the start of the game for the most consecutive games played by a defenseman from the start of a career with the same team. The Flyers also saw the return of their Captain Claude Giroux from the COVID protocol list. With games in hand to most other teams in the MassMutual East Division, the Flyers had a great opportunity to shut down the struggling Rangers without Artemi Panarin to gain some ground in the standings.
Right out of the gate, the Flyers had some great scoring opportunities, but Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin seemingly had things shut down as one of the top rising goalies in the NHL. However, on a Flyers powerplay, Erik Gustafsson scored his first in a Flyers uniform off a slap shot from the right point, breaking the scoreless tie. This was only the beginning of powerplay madness, as the Rangers would soon have one of their own. After Sean Couturier found his way to the penalty box, Chris Kreider scored his first of the game four seconds into the Rangers powerplay. But the Flyers wouldn’t let that kill their momentum, as Shayne Gostisbehere on the powerplay netted his first goal in 22 games and first powerplay goal in 29 games, thus retaking the Flyers lead.
Four minutes into the second period, on yet another Flyers powerplay, James Van Riemsdyk continued his hot streak scoring his ninth of the year for a 3-1 Flyers lead. This is the comeback tour Flyers fans wanted from Van Riemsdyk, as he leads the entire NHL in powerplay goals scored with 7 on the year so far, tied with Joe Pavelski from the Dallas Stars and superstar Auston Matthews from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers then had a tremendous chance, you guessed it, on the powerplay, to seal the deal on a 5-on-3 man advantage. The Flyers failed to capitalize on their best opportunity in the game, and the Rangers found themselves within reach as Kreider scored his second powerplay goal of the game, his third powerplay goal in two games. To everyone’s surprised, the Flyers scored the first 5-on-5 goal of the game as Kevin Hayes, the former Ranger on a real tough angle scored bar down on Shesterkin making it 4-2 Flyers. Giroux earned his third assist of the game on Hayes’ goal.
It was all Brian Elliott for the Flyers in the third period, as he made several key saves to retain a Flyers lead. Kreider earned the hat trick which gave some life for the Rangers, but Elliott was a fortress from there on out. Adam Fox, denied! Mika Zibanejad on a breakaway, denied! Chris Kreider trying to earn his fourth, denied, finally! Brian Elliott was hot all game and a Flyers victory would have been impossible without some of the incredible saves he made throughout the game. Elliott made 24 saves on 27 Ranger shots. In a rare occurrence, the Flyers actually outshot their opponent throughout the entire game, with 39 total shots. Going on the man-advantage eight times certainly played a role in that.
The Flyers will battle the Buffalo Sabres next this Saturday at 1:00 pm, and you can catch that game right here on 97.5 The Fanatic.