The Philadelphia Flyers were handed another tough loss on Sunday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, 3-1. Another game, another missed opportunity for the Flyers as they really struggled to maintain any offensive zone pressure in this one. The Rangers did an excellent job of closing the Flyers off from the middle of the ice but Philly also missed the net a ton; the Flyers only managed 22 shots of goal and Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist hardly had to be acrobatic to keep his team ahead. Once again, Philadelphia will look back on this as a lost weekend, with their playoff hopes continuing to fade away.
The Flyers received just one goal from Brayden Schenn (16th) in the dying seconds of the loss. The goal also gave defensemen Shayne Ghostisbehere another point and an extension on his point streak. It finally now seems as if Ghost is receiving league-wide recognition for the Calder trophy for the league’s best rookie and while the 22 year-old defensemen has some excellent competition, there is no other player at his position playing at such a high level among rookies. To think that Ghostisbehere isn’t even the Flyers most talked about or celebrated prospect this season is an encouraging sign for what is to come for the Flyers.
Losing goaltender Steve Mason was excellent in goal as he stopped 27 of 30 shots fired his way. Once again, the coverage in front of Mason was sloppy and at times, just downright bad. The first goal would have been a difficult puck to stop, but the issue on that play isn’t Mason’s positioning. Defensemen Mark Streit was caught flat-footed at the blueline before eventually being turnstile by Rangers forward Derick Brassard. The other two New York goals saw busted coverage in front of Mason that left Derek Stepan unmarked for uncontested shots.
Here are some game notes:
Last night’s game saw its fair share of rough stuff as the game was kicked off with two spirited fights. With the Rangers looking for retribution for their injured captain Ryan McDonagh, Wayne Simmonds and to a lesser extent, Ryan White answered the bell in the early going. Simmonds and Rangers’ defensemen Dylan McIlrath had some discussion during warmups about Simmonds answering for what he had done and Wayne did just that with the fight. That’s hockey and now, what’s done is done between the two rival teams.
I’ve been duly impressed with Nick Cousins since being recalled form Leigh Valley Phantoms. Not the biggest or fastest player on the ice, Cousins saw some powerplay time last night and did well with zone entries with the puck. In addition to this, he’s shifty in tight quarters, displayed good hands, a good shot, and plays with some grit in all three zones, but is not reckless out there either. Hopefully it continues for him as he seems to have the makings of a chippy third line player that can stir the pot when out there.