On Sunday night, the Philadelphia Flyers traveled to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers. Just over 24 hours off an ugly 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Philadelphia that ended a 10-game home winning streak, the Flyers came into New York hoping for a win in the second of yet another back-to-back set of games. Unfortunately, this did not happen, as the Rangers got off to a quick start against Ray Emery and never looked back, cruising to a 4-1 win in a Metropolitan Division matchup.
It only took 2 minutes for the Rangers to get on the board, and it was former Flyer enforcer Dan Carcillo with his second goal of the season, a puck he backhanded past Emery who seemed to fall asleep on the play. Emery's nap apparently continued the next time the Rangers brought the puck down the ice, just over 30 seconds later, as Rick Nash fired one past Emery for a quick 2-0 Rangers lead not even 3 minutes into the game. Derrick Brassard would add another goal for the Rangers about halfway through the period, putting the Flyers in a quick 3-0 from which they were never able to recover.
Ray Emery settled down after this point, despite allowing another goal to Chris Kreider on the power play in the second period. The Flyers started playing better hockey in the 2nd period, but Henrik Lundqvist had an answer for just about everything they threw at him. Down 4-0 after two periods, the Flyers would take away Lundqvist's shutout on the power play, as Mark Streit smashed a slap shot past the Rangers' netminder with about 13 minutes to go in the game. The Flyers weren't able to build off of that, and the Rangers cruised to a 4-1 win in an important Metropolitan Division matchup.
Two of the Rangers' goals were the result of Flyers players not being able to clear the zone. Both Luke Schenn and Sean Couturier turned the puck over in their own zone as a result of failed clearing attempts, both of which the Rangers capitalized on. For at least part of the game, it looked like October for the Flyers.
Sometimes, all it takes is an inconveniently scheduled back to back against two tough teams to make a team look like they're having issues. The Flyers gave up 10 goals in two games this weekend, and scored only four. Of course, Tampa is an Eastern Conference powerhouse, and the Rangers have been hot as of late. But the Flyers' two quick losses this weekend drop them to fourth in the Metropolitan Division, behind both the Rangers and the Washington Capitals.
Back to back games don't help much, but the Flyers have not had much trouble with back to back games since the beginning of the season. However, this weekend was an exception. They'll travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres on Tuesday night, a game that on paper, they should win. It's a tight race in the Metropolitan Division from 2nd to 4th, so every point counts at this point – the Flyers will go for two big ones in Buffalo on Tuesday.
New York: 2:14 – Daniel Carcillo (2), No Assists
New York: 2:42 – Rick Nash (11), Assisted by Chris Kreider (15) and Ryan McDonagh (19)
New York: 9:24 – Derick Brassard (8), Assisted by Mats Zuccarello (22) and Benoit Pouliot (9)
New York: 13:18 – PPG – Chris Kreider (12), Assisted by Brad Richards (23)
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