The Flyers pulled out a 5-4 OT victory against the Rangers on Monday night in a game that had a bit of everything. Goals, penalties, scrums, lead-changes, and a winning goal by Jake Voracek that was in real-time slow motion.
Two points, heart burn, and a rematch Wednesday night to do it all again.
Flyers vs. Rangers: Three Storylines
One Skates East, One Skates West…
Both Flyers and Rangers goalies are in the coo-coo’s nest.
Not since Chief Bromden and McMurphy were bunking up together have two individuals been more in their own heads like projected starters Alexander Georgiev and Carter Hart.
The Rangers’ Georgiev has been pulled in his last two starts (5-1 loss to the Penguins and 4-0 loss to the Bruins), and third-stringer Keith Kinkaid has taken the ice for the last two.
“I’m not sure that it’s the physical aspect,” said coach David Quinn, “I think it is more of a mental piece for him.”
On the flip-side, the Flyers’ Carter Hart has been struggling to get the mental game on track for most of the season however did get the W on Tuesday night against the Rangers.
It is tough to fault Hart for any of the goals allowed as giveaways and team defense sparked a slew of odd-man-rushes. In fact, Hart made several phenomenal saves to keep the Flyers in striking distance of the win.
Two fragile minds colliding, which netminder can overcome the mental hurdles in the rematch?
Time to Man up
The Flyers special teams’ units have been under siege most of the season – often killing momentum vs. gaining it.
Conversely the Rangers PK is currently fourth in the NHL.
There was life on Monday night with the Flyers going 2/5 – and having a 3rd PP goal called back due to an offsides. The Flyers 26th ranked PK killed off all five of the Rangers PP, although not without some close calls.
If the Flyers can keep trending their special teams against penalty-happy opponents like the Rangers, the momentum will start shifting a lot easier.
The Flyers depth is supposed to be one of the strengths of the 2021 team. Tuesday night that was certainly not the case as the bottom of the lineup had a tough night.
The experimental pairing of Nate Prosser and Shayne Gostisbehere will hopefully never see the ice again as both players ended with a -3 on the night. The pair was caught flat-footed and hemmed into the zone for much of the evening.
Expect to see Hagg or Gustafsson – ideally Hagg to get some needed physicality – back into the lineup tonight.
On the front end, the fourth line of Oskar Lindblom, Michael Raffl, and Nicholas Aube-Kubel all went -2 on the night.
Raffl may have rushed his hand back into play and the line, in general, was a liability all night. Lindblom is having a tough time finding a place in this lineup, and NAK didn’t have his usual energy.
Time to give Bunnaman a shot again on the 4th? Was the team, and the fourth line in particular, just out of gas?
The bottom of the lineup needs to regroup and get the energy and stability back starting tonight.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire