The Philadelphia Flyers will look back on their most recent shootout loss to the Rangers as an opportunity missed as New York snaps Philly’s three game winning streak Saturday afternoon, 3-2. All things considered, the Flyers were turning in a relatively decent effort this afternoon before the third period. Once Philadelphia got to the final stanza, the club sat back a little too much and allowed the Rangers to dictate tempo and play; that was ultimately their undoing in this one.The Flyers received goals from Shayne Ghostisbehere (9th) and Ryan White (6th) in the losing cause. The game saw tons of rough stuff and physicality; to that point, it was nice to see the Flyers stick up for one another in big divisional contest but this game is one I’m sure that’d like to have back. Philadelphia played hard today but became a little too passive towards the end of the game. Locking down games late in the game has been sore spot for the Flyers this season and is the main reason they continue to be among the league leaders in overtime games played.
Losing goaltender Steve Mason was a rock in this one, turning away 26 of 28 shots. Mason was rendered helpless on both Ranger goals but especially on the one that tied the game late. New York defensemen Keith Yandle, who quite frankly was invisible for the majority of the contest, wired a one-time shot from the point past screened Mason. There were far too many bodies in front of the goaltender for him to get a clean site line to the puck. The shootout loss was Mason’s 13th of the season.
Here are your game notes:
In the beginning stages of today’s contest, the Flyers lost Wayne Simmonds to a match penalty and game misconduct after a scuffle with Rangers defensemen Ryan McDonagh. After earlier getting an elbow to the mouth on the follow through of a hit attempt from Dominic Moore, Simmonds tried to finish a hit on the Rangers captain shortly thereafter. On the play, McDonagh got his stick up and nailed Simmonds in the head, almost knocking the Flyers’ forwards helmet off in the process. Simmonds then retaliated by punching McDonagh in the face. The Rangers defensemen did not return to the game.
Here’s my issue with the ensuing call and the play itself. The NHL has made it abundantly clear that they take contact to the head very serious and do their best to protect the players. This exchange shouldn’t be looked at from the time Simmonds decided to sucker punch McDonagh but rather the cross-check that started it all in the first place.
The fact that Simmonds was ejected from the game made little sense and there is no reason why a sequence like that should not be made reviewable. It’s unfortunate that McDonagh got hurt on the play but perhaps he shouldn’t dish out what he can’t take.
As the Flyers played the rest of the afternoon shorthanded, I felt Nick Cousins and Scott Laughton filled in admirably for the injured Sean Couturier. Cousins in particular drew two penalties in 9:52 of ice time. This is likely what the two players will need to do over the next month or so of play; both were active and physical in the contest and while offense may be difficult to come by, taking care of the other two zones will be essential.