In what was hands down their worst effort all year long, the Flyers were absolutely dominated by the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden by a 7-0 count, to extend their losing streak to a season-high four games.
A career-high four-goal game from Ryan Callahan, including the game-winning goal inside the first minute of play, helped in the embarrassment of the Eastern Conference leaders on a gloomy Sunday.
Mats Zuccarello added on two while Artem Anisimov had a goal as well, while Henrik Lundqvist recorded a twenty-four save shutout.
Unlike Saturday’s matinee setback, the Flyers got off to a rough start today. As Brandon Dubinsky danced behind Philly’s goal line, he eventually came out to Brian Boucher’s right throwing a backhand to the crease. Callahan, standing at the top of the crease, was able to tip it past Boucher to give the Rangers a 1-0 advantage at 51 seconds and put the Flyers in an immediate hole.
Hoping to even the score after killing off a Jody Shelley tripping penalty, the Flyers had a power play of their own. As Ruslan Fedotenko sat in the box for holding, the Flyers had a well organized and dangerous power play chance. However, not a single shot, including a Mike Richards tip that just missed the net, was able to find a path past Lundqvist.
Attempting to get his team fired up, Shelley ramped up the physicality. Putting a heavy check on Matt Gilroy along the boards, Brian Boyle took exception to the hit and dropped his gloves with Shelley. Boyle ended up losing the fight and received an instigator for his actions.
After a series of bad calls for both teams, the Rangers found themselves on a shortened power-play opportunity.
Holding the puck at the bottom of the circle to Boucher’s right, Callahan was able to roof the puck as Boucher had already dropped to a knee and the Flyers’ defense gave him ample time and space to shoot. Callahan’s eighteenth on the season and second on the day gave the Rangers a two-goal lead with just over seven minutes left in the first period.
Coming out angry about the first period, Richards dropped the gloves with Dubinsky after he had applied several good checks to multiple Rangers. Getting the worst of it, Richards went to the penalty box for five minutes with a cut above his nose.
Seemingly unmotivated by the leadership displayed, the Flyers almost gave the Rangers a three-goal lead. After a lazy clear attempt by Sean O’Donnell, the Rangers centered a pass to the slot where it was redirected past Boucher by Sean Avery. The goal was disallowed because replay showed that Avery blatantly kicked the puck out of mid-air.
After more pushing and shoving, end-to-end action ensued for several minutes ultimately leading to the Rangers’ third goal. Coming in on a 2-on-1, Zuccarello lifted the puck just enough above Boucher’s right leg pad and just inside his blocker from the right wing. The former Norwegian Olympian’s fifth goal gave the Rangers a comfortable lead of 3-0 with fifteen minutes left in the middle period.
Not satisfied with a two-goal day, Callahan decided to make it a hat trick. As the puck hit people in front of the net, Kris Versteeg picked up the puck only to turn it over to Callahan who was walking into the slot. Naturally, the skilled winger put the puck top right corner past a startled Boucher for a four-goal edge. Callahan’s third goal of the game forced Peter Laviolette to pull his embattled starting netminder after four goals on eighteen shots.
Sergei Bobrovsky made a couple huge leg pad saves to keep the Flyers in the game as the rest of the second period went without a goal and the Rangers entered the final twenty minutes with a four-goal lead.
The Flyers started off the third period with the first power play opportunity. As Artem Anisimov went to the sin bin for high-sticking, the Flyers’ power play failed with a shortened chance as Danny Briere was sent off for interference.
Callahan continued to torture the visitors, opening the scoring in the final stanza by redirecting a shot to give the Blueshirts a 5-0 advantage.
As Matt Gilroy had the puck at the top of the circle to Bobrovsky’s left, he found Callahan at the top of the crease with a pass as the net, which was wide open to receive a skate-boot redirection while Bob was out of position.
Not finished scoring for the day, the Rangers added on yet another goal late in the third. Catching the Flyers in a line change, Anisimov found himself on a breakaway against Bobrovsky and made him look silly. Acting as if he was going to go glove side, Anisimov stopped and slid it past Bob’s right leg pad for a six- goal Rangers’ lead.
Still refusing to let up, Zuccarello found the back of the net for his second goal of the game coming with one minute and thirteen seconds left in regulation.
The Flyers were simply never a part of the game. From the opening seconds to the final moments, the Rangers dictated play and dominated the Flyers in every aspect of the game. Forechecking, physicality, and defensive were all aspects of the game owned by the Rangers.
You can’t even come close to blaming this on a lack of firepower, because although Jeff Carter was a late scratch with the flu and Dan Carcillo also sat out as a precaution due to illness, plenty of other Philly sticks came up firing blanks.
It was the worst loss the Flyers have ever suffered at Madison Square Garden. The previous high was five goals, last coming in a 5-0 New York win on March 21, 2007.
Notes: The 7-goal loss was the Flyers first loss of that magnitude since October 17, 2006 (9-1 loss at Buffalo)…Callahan’s four-goal game was the first four-goal game against the Flyers this season; it’s the second four-goal game by a Ranger this year following Marian Gaborik against Toronto on January 19…Alex Kovalev was the last opposing player to tally four times against Philadelphia, on January 3, 2010 in a 7-4 Senators win in Ottawa…The Flyers are now 4-1-0 against the Rangers this season and 14-3-1 against Atlantic division teams (PIT 3-1-0, NYR 4-1-0, NJD 3-1-1, NYI 4-0-0).