Flyers Hold Off Rangers Rally for 6th Straight Win
At the trade deadline, the Flyers opted to add some veteran depth to the lineup. That veteran depth came through in a big way on Sunday.
Derek Grant got his first two points as a Flyer, assisting on a shorthanded goal and getting the eventual game-winning goal in the Flyers 5-3 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon.
The Flyers wasted no time opening the scoring. After getting an early power play, Travis Sanheim threw a shot on goal that was stopped by the pad of Henrik Lundqvist. The rebound went right to Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and he fired off the post, but Matt Niskanen was in front to put home the second rebound and make it 1-0 Flyers just 1:52 into the game.
Back on the power play midway through the period, the Flyers struck again. Just like on the first goal, it was a big rebound that led to a goal. Travis Konecny made a cross-ice pass to Jake Voracek, who fired on goal. Again, Lundqvist made the save with his pad and the rebound shot out to the stick of Sean Couturier for the tap-in goal, making it 2-0.
The Flyers also got some timely saves in the first period from Carter Hart. Hart had to make two tough saves on deflections while also robbing Kaapo Kakko from in front and making a save on Mika Zibanejad on a breakaway.
The Flyers were back on the penalty kill for the second time when they turned defense into offense. Grant made a nice play to force the puck out of the zone, then caught up to the loose puck starting a two-on-one. Grant centered for Michael Raffl, who buried his chance on the backhand to make it 3-0 with 2:07 left in the period.
Through 20 minutes, shots were 13-9 in favor of the Flyers.
Early in the second, the Flyers continued to take advantage of a shaky Rangers defense. Grant was the next to score, getting his first goal as a Flyer after a nice play in the neutral zone to start an odd-man rush. Grant took control entering the zone, held onto the puck and made a move on Lundqvist before scoring on the backhand to make it 4-0 just 1:23 into the period.
The Rangers finally got on the board at 12:34, taking just a few seconds into the power play to strike. Artemi Panarin set up Mika Zibanejad for a tip from the slot to make it 4-1.
The Flyers had an answer with another power-play goal of their own. It was Konecny getting his 23rd of the season on a deflection in front off a pass from Voracek to make it 5-1.
Shots through two periods were 20-14 Flyers.
In the third, the Rangers dominated, firing 12 shots on goal to the Flyers six. Just like in the second, the Rangers used the power play to their advantage.
At 5:33, it was another tip-in goal with Pavel Buchnevich getting the re-direction in front to make it 5-2. With 7:21 remaining, the Rangers cut the lead to two with another power-play goal as Zibanejad was in alone and finished on the backhand after a failed clear by Raffl.
The Flyers held off the Rangers rally from there, getting help from a couple of posts and some big saves from Hart down the stretch. Hart finished with 23 saves in the win. Lundqvist had 21 saves in the loss.
Konecny and Grant each had a goal and an assist. Sanheim and Voracek each had two assists. Zibanejad had two goal and an assist in the loss. Tony DeAngelo and Panarin each had a pair of assists.
The Flyers get back on the ice on Wednesday night to battle the division leaders, the Washington Capitals, at 7 p.m.
- PHI Matt Niskanen (8) PP (Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Travis Sanheim) 1:52
- PHI Sean Couturier (21) PP (Jake Voracek, Travis Konecny) 11:19
- PHI Michael Raffl (7) SH (Derek Grant) 17:53
- PHI Grant (15) (Tyler Pitlick) 1:23
- NYR Mika Zibanejad (31) PP (Artemi Panarin, Tony DeAngelo) 12:34
- PHI Konecny (23) PP (Voracek, Ivan Provorov) 15:34
- NYR Pavel Buchnevich (15) PP (DeAngelo, Zibanejad) 5:33
- NYR Zibanejad (32) PP (Panarin, Brett Howden) 12:39
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.