Welcome to the first Pod Street Postgame in what seems like forever! For the first time in eleven days, your Philadelphia Flyers took the ice against the New York Rangers with a completely new-look team.
With six players in Covid-19 protocol, the Flyers bottom six line combinations welcomed some familiar faces as well as some new ones. Maksim Sushko made his NHL debut with the Flyers.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel got the Flyers on the scoreboard early in the first minute of the opening frame with a mad scramble in front of Georgiev. That would be the only scoring of the period as both teams were blanked on the powerplay twice during the first period.
Three minutes into the second period, the Rangers would eliminate the Flyers lead as Colin Blackwell tipped a puck past Carter Hart on the powerplay. With a penalty packed period, including a penalty shot for the Rangers, Blackwell remained as the lone goal scorer sending the game to the third period all knotted up at one apiece.
On a broken defensive play, Artemi Panarin found Brendan Smith on the doorstep for an empty net slam dunk to give the Rangers their first lead of the game. In a valiant effort with Carter Hart pulled, Joel Farabee stuffed a goal past Georgiev to tie the game with just over a minute left in the period. 65 minutes would not be enough for this game as the Rangers and Flyers went into a shootout with the Rangers coming out on top at the end. Flyers get a much needed point in an already tight division.
Pod Street Postgame – Three Observations
New Look Lines
The reimagined first and second lines for the Flyers proved their worth throughout the game. Couturier centering Farabee and van Riemsdyk gave the Flyers a lot of offensive opportunities. Farabee and van Riemsdyk’s chemistry picked up where it left off as they had multiple chances that they couldn’t finish on. There were multiple plays where they should have converted, but the Rangers defense and goaltending shut them down.
The second line of Raffl and Aube-Kubel centered by Hayes played similarly to the pre-COVID pause fourth line which saw Connor Bunnaman centering the same wingers. The wingers on this line did what they do best, forechecked their butts off and created opportunities in the offensive zone. Once again, the hard work of Raffl and NAK was rewarded with the goal in the first period.
The third and fourth lines saw very limited minutes which was expected of Alain Vigneault to do. The third line looked very promising at times, playing very physical and even better defensively. The fourth line was noticeable every once in a blue moon when they were given the chance to see ice time.
Powerplay Missing Giroux
The Flyers were given many power play opportunities during this game. They were able to establish themselves in the offensive zone and create some scoring chances, but they were certainly missing a certain puzzle piece. You wouldn’t notice it until you really look at it, but the Flyers have A LOT of left handed players.
That missing piece? Right handed shooter Claude Giroux, who typically works that half wall at the hash marks on the powerplay. Having Captain Giroux on the left side with a right handed shot allows him to see the ice more as well as be able to unload a one timer if need be.
Missing Giroux from the lineup over the next couple of days is going to significantly hurt this team’s power play production. Philadelphia would go on to not capitalize on any of their five power play opportunities during the Rangers games. They are going to have to fix that, especially against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.
Philadelphia was becoming known as a “soft” team due to the fact that they had not been dishing out physical hits or defending their teammates after dirty plays. For whatever reason, tonight was a completely different team that took the ice. There were multiple plays where a hit at center ice or in the defensive zone had turned the puck over and changed the momentum in favor of the Flyers.
There were other moments during this season that opposing teams would swarm Carter Hart after he would freeze the puck. Many times the opposing players would take an extra whack at Hart and the defenseman wouldn’t do anything about. The defensive core wasn’t having any of that tonight. If any player even got close to Hart after the whistle, they were being swarmed upon and taken to the boards behind the net.
To be honest, it’s about time the Broad Street Bullies started playing with some grit and physical play. It was becoming concerning that teams were starting to push them around during games. Let’s hope they don’t leave this type of play in Philadelphia when they travel to Lake Tahoe to take on the Bruins.
Overall the Flyers played a decent game against the New York Rangers with all things considered. They played well and scoring that late tying goal from Farabee shows that the Flyers are not in a lay down and die mode. Even Alain Vigneault agreed.
Obviously getting the pity point out of this game hurts and they should have come away with two, but let’s not be too hard on this team. Luckily, Philadelphia gets to see the Rangers again next week and will hopefully have some of their top guns back in the lineup.
It was important for the Flyers to get this game under their belt since they are slated to take the ice at Lake Tahoe on Sunday. Without playing this game and getting some much needed ice time before Sunday, it would have been such an ugly game for Flyers fans to watch. The Boston Bruins already have the Flyers number this season in their first four matchups, and they would have dominated the entire game while embarrassing the orange and black.
That’s it for your latest Pod Street Postgame. Check back Sunday night after the NHL Outdoors game against the Bruins to get your Pod Street Postgame fix.
Photo Credit – Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire