Flyers-Rangers: Postgame Review
After not getting the effort they needed to claim two points in Detroit, the Flyers returned home and managed to get the desired result.
It didn't come easy, but the Flyers managed to create some separation by beating a Rangers team that had the energy to play spoiler.
Let's jump right in with our Postgame Review.
- Entering the Lyon's Den - Watching a start like this from Alex Lyon, you wonder why he isn't given more of a chance. Lyon allowed three goals, including one off of Ivan Provorov's skate and another that was the result of a defensive breakdown. Otherwise, he was solid and steady, making 33 saves in the win, the fourth of his NHL career.
Dave Hakstol doesn't really mess with the regularity of starts for a veteran netminder, so it wouldn't be a shock if Petr Mrazek is still back in net for the Flyers in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
But it should be Lyon who goes. He simply gives you a better chance to win right now. He nearly stole the Flyers the win in Detroit after Mrazek looked downright horrible in the second period and was certainly a key to the win on Thursday.
- Starting Slowly - The Flyers did outshoot the Rangers, 15-8, in the first period and, overall, play a decent period, much better than their recent starts.
That said, for the first few minutes, the Flyers were sloppy and giving up several quality chances. Lyon faced eight shots in the first period and made seven saves. He had five or six of those saves in the first 10 minutes of the period.
The Flyers seemed to recover from the slow start when Travis Konecny scored and carried that through the rest of the frame, albeit for one tough shift that resulted in Mika Zibanejad's goal.
Luckily for the Flyers, the Rangers are a team that really doesn't have the firepower to cash in on a sloppy start like that. The Flyers next three opponents -- Pittsburgh, Dallas and Colorado -- all will, so the starts still need to be better.
- Oskar Lindblom and the Second Line - The more I see the second line of Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom and Jake Voracek, the more I like it. The Flyers have a very legitimate second scoring line.
It seems like since Lindblom's call-up, Voracek has been on the scoreboard a lot more. Patrick has been much better in the second half of the season with his puck control and drawing attention to himself to set up plays. Lindblom, who scored his first NHL goal on Sunday, cashed in on a rebound for his second goal. True to form, once the first one went in, another quickly followed.
This line was instrumental in grabbing the eventual game-winning goal in the opening seconds of the third period on a well-designed play. The chemistry is apparent and it's been great to see a trio outside of the top line contribute in this way.
- Slip-Ups - Even as the Flyers held a two-goal lead in the third, there were still slip-ups in defensive coverage and just overall intensity. It felt like the Rangers controlled the play after the Flyers fourth goal, certainly an alarming sign for the Orange and Black with tougher games on the horizon.
The third goal was a perfect example. The Rangers just caught the Flyers flat-footed and standing around a bit off a face-off. It's lapses like that one that can't happen at this stage of the season.
This is where Lyon really shined. He stood on his head at times in the third period to finish off the win, but without his efforts, who knows what could have happened down the stretch. The Flyers need to be better at closing things out with structured, tight defense.
- Some Separation While Keeping Pace - Regardless of the mistakes in the game, the Flyers got the desired result and the two points. At the very least, it allowed them to keep pace with Washington, Pittsburgh and Columbus while putting some distance on New Jersey and Florida.
The Flyers now have a six-point lead on the Devils and seven-point lead on the Panthers. After letting a point slip away on Tuesday, simply getting the win is satisfying.
Of course, the effort needs to still be better. With Pittsburgh next on the schedule, the smallest mistakes will come back to haunt this team, so playing a smart game will be crucial. That said, for now, the Flyers can look at their latest result and be satisfied with two points.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.