For the second time in a week, the Flyers were humiliated by the Rangers. This time, in their own home building, New York was already up 6-0 early into the second period before Philadelphia tried to fight back.
Tried is the key word. While they weren’t shutout this time around, they managed three goals, two of which were on the power play. That was the only real positive sign out of that game. Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Samuel Morin dropped the gloves as different points as well.
The month of March has not been kind to the Flyers. They come in with a 4-9-1 record. They have given up 65 goals throughout the 14 games played. Unless they somehow earn shutouts in their final few games, they will break a previous franchise record of goals given up in a month. That total was 66 goals in 15 games back in January of 1993.
So how can the Flyers avoid another blowout loss against the Rangers?
Keys to the Game
Score The First Goal
During the last two meetings between this teams, the Rangers have jumped on the Flyers in the first period. They’ve been outscored 5-0 in the opening period. New York has been able to use that momentum to step on the gas pedal and pull away in the second.
The Flyers scored first in the previous three matchups, going 2-0-1 in those games. Each of those games has the teams separated by just a goal. Getting on the board first has been key. The team to score first has won all but one of five matchups.
Slow Down Zibanejad
Zibanejad started off the season slowly and was likely feeling the effects a of COVID diagnosis. But he has flown off the rails during the month of March. Especially against the Flyers.
In the last two games, Zibanejad has six goals and 12 points. He scored a natural hat trick in both and added three assists to his totals. He has eight points total in the other 10 games the Rangers played against a different team. He set an NHL record with six points in consecutive games against the same opponent. Not something the Flyers want to be a part of.
They were able to hold him off the scoresheet in their only win against the Rangers this month. They will have to do the same if they want a change to get revenge.
Stand Your Ground
The Rangers have now caught up to the Flyers in the East Division. Both teams have identical records coming into this matchup. Philadelphia has taken a free fall this month, but still sits only three points back of Boston for a playoff spot.
The Bruins have three games in hand, though, so it will still be an uphill battle to catch them. When each game is against a divisional opponent, they become that much more important. It is essentially a four point swing every time the team takes the ice.
The Flyers need to respond. Not only to how the last two have gone against New York, but how the month as a whole has trended. We finally saw some frustration during and after Thursday night’s game. It’s time to show everyone that you are sick and tired of this losing.
Flyers Projected Lineup
The team is expected to ice the same lineup as they did on Thursday night. The only difference will be with their starting goaltender. Each goalie has been pulled in their last two outings against New York.
James van Riemsdyk – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Claude Giroux – Kevin Hayes – Joel Farabee
Oskar Lindblom – Nolan Patrick – Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl – Scott Laughton – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov – Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim – Phil Myers
Shayne Gostisbehere – Samuel Morin