Flyers Continue To Struggle Against Rangers, Lose 5-2

The Flyers are still looking for their first win against the New York Rangers this season, as they dropped their visit to Madison Square Garden today 5-2. Artem Anisimov recorded a goal and two assists for his first three-point game of the season, as Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves in the violent victory.

The Rangers played strong defensively in a game that featured a lot of animosity and intensity. The Rangers blocked 25 of the Flyers’ shots today, while four fights happened in a game that featured 54 hits.

On the game-winning goal, Michael Del Zotto skated into the slot and received a pass from Marian Gaborik, who had two points today. Del Zotto ripped a shot that managed to go five-hole on Ilya Bryzgalov for his seventh goal of the season with 18:27 left in the game.

Bryzgalov made 33 saves today, but unfortunately allowed two soft goals that ultimately cost the Flyers. In addition to Del Zotto’s game-winner, Bryzgalov should have been able to stop Gaborik’s goal in the final minute of the second period.

To start the game, the Flyers found themselves in a usual predicament after they allowed the game’s first goal just 64 seconds after the opening faceoff.

Dan Girardi blasted a low slap shot from the point that Anisimov was able to deflect top shelf on Bryzgalov for the game’s first goal.

Wasting little time thinking about the goal, Zac Rinaldo got on the ice and nailed Stu Bickel in the Rangers’ zone before the defenseman tackled the Flyers’ pest for an interference minor.

Philly wasn’t able to tie the game on their first power-play chance, as the Rangers, a team who had allowed only one power-play goal in their eight previous games, kept the Flyers’ from converting.

Bickel, still upset from the call on Rinaldo, decided to drop the gloves with Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers’ forward seemed to win the decision in a fight where both players threw and missed several haymakers.

Shortly after the bout, The Flyers recorded their first shots of the game, as Jaromir Jagr and Harry Zolnierczyk forced Lundqvist to make saves in rapid succession to keep it a one-goal game.

The Rangers’ next session in the offensive zone featured a sequence of cycling before a shot from the point was blocked, but led to a Matt Read holding minor on Mike Rupp.

New York didn’t convert on their first power play, as another fight ensued later in the first period. After Tom Sestito laid Brandon Dubinsky into the boards in the Rangers’ zone, Dubinsky dropped the gloves to draw Sestito into a scuffle. Not letting Sestito throw any punches, Dubinsky pushed the Flyers’ enforcer over the boards for a roar from the Madison Square Garden crowd.

In the final minutes of the period, a series of questionable calls kept the Rangers’ lead intact for the start of the second period.

After the refs missed a call on the Rangers in the defensive zone, Braydon Coburn was hit with a holding minor seconds later in the Flyers’ zone for a New York power play.

With Coburn in the box, Claude Giroux had a chance to tie the game, but was blatantly tripped by Anton Stralman. Not only was Giroux not given a penalty shot, Stralman wasn’t handed a penalty for his infraction, as the Flyers headed into the second period down by a goal.

After the first 20 minutes, the Flyers were out shot 14-5, as Bryzgalov denied several shots from the point through traffic to keep the game at a one-goal margin.

In the first few minutes of the second period, the Flyers applied severe pressure in the offensive zone as they waited for a delayed Bickel interference penalty. Thanks to Brian Boyle breaking his stick, the Flyers essentially had a six-on-four situation, but werent’ able to capitalize as the Rangers eventually cleared the puck into the neutral zone.

After Philly failed to convert on another power play, both Sestito and Bickel got involved in their second fights of the game. Each player threw several punches before Bickel pulled Sestito down to the ice.

With the pair in the box for fighting, Giroux just missed tying the game at one after he hit the post on a wide open net.

A series of shots and rebounds led to a pair of Giroux shots with Lundqvist out of position. With a fallen Ranger in the crease, Giroux failed to put home his 21st goal of the season on his second shot in the sequence, as he clanked the outside of the post.

Shortly after Giroux’s miss, Brayden Schenn was sent to the sin bin for slashing. The Flyers killed of Schenn’s penalty before the rookie tied the game on a breakaway due to his penalty.

Schenn had just left the box seconds earlier when Jakub Voracek hit him with a pass behind the entire Rangers’ squad. Kicking his leg up before switching the puck between his forehand and backhand several times, Schenn put a backhander over a sprawled out Lundqvist for his fifth goal of the season 12:02 into the second period.

Despite holding off many of the shots late in the second period from the Rangers, Bryzgalov let the Rangers regain the lead just before the end of the second period on a soft goal from Gaborik.

After he was laid out by Andrej Meszaros behind the net, Gaborik received a pass from Derek Stepan and completed a wrap-around goal on Bryzgalov. The puck hit Bryzgalov’s stick and squeaked between the goalie’s arm and hip for a tally with just under six seconds left in the middle stanza.

Bryzgalov may have allowed a soft goal on Gaborik’s shot, but he did a good job of keeping the Flyers in the game, as the Rangers out shot the Flyers 28-15 after 40 minutes.

Early in the third period, Simmonds tied the game on the power play.

With Dubinsky in the box for a delaying game minor, Scott Hartnell made a short pass across the slot to Simmonds, who controlled the puck for a second before roofing the puck over Lundqvist for his fourth goal in the last three games.

It took 36 seconds after Simmonds’ goal for the Rangers to regain the lead with Del Zotto’s decisive tally.

Right after the faceoff at center ice following Del Zotto’s goal, Sestito dropped the gloves for a third time in the game to earn himself a misconduct. He was able to make Brandon Prust bleed, but he also had to leave the game following his bout.

After Sestito’s fight, and a Bickel boarding minor the Flyers couldn’t capitalize on, Rinaldo had a very fiesty shift before being called for a roughing minor. The Rangers couldn’t score on their fourth power play of the game, as the Flyers kept searching for their third game-tying goal.

The Orange and Black nearly got their third goal of the game on a power play from a Boyle slashing minor. Although they kept the puck in the zone for almost the entire two minutes of the man advantage, they couldn’t beat the shot-blocking Rangers’ defenders and Lundqvist to tie the game.

Shortly after the failed power play, Jagr had his stick slashed out of his hand to allow the Rangers to clear the zone, which led to a turnover from the Flyers in their own defensive zone. Prust, who intercepted the pass, set up Dubinsky for a wrister from the circles that beat Bryzgalov blocker-side for a two-goal Rangers’ lead with 7:45 left.

Despite several close scoring chances for the Flyers in the final segment of the game, featuring an odd-man rush from Jagr and Giroux, Philly couldn’t find their way back into the game. Ruslan Fedotenko potted the empty-net goal for the Rangers to cap off a 5-2 win.

The Flyers look to end their two-game skid with a match-up against the New York Islanders on Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Notes: The Flyers have lost all four of their meetings against the Rangers this season and have lost six straight to the Rangers overall…Simmonds is on a three-game scoring streak, which is a career high…Simmonds’ power-play goal gives the Flyers at least one power-play goal in each of their last seven games…Hartnell was a minus-4 today. It’s the first time he went minus-4 in a game since February 12th, 2009…Matt Carle was also minus-4 today. It’s the second time all season he’s posted a minus-4 game, with his first being the Flyers’ lose in Ottawa on January 8th…Sestito posted a season-high 25 PIMs. He has recorded 30 of his 54 PIMs this season against the Rangers (5 PIMs in 12/23 meeting)…The Flyers are 2-14-1 when trailing after two periods this season…Schenn’s second period goal was his third goal in his last five games…Anisimov’s first period goal ended his 17-game pointless drought…The Rangers are 24-1-2 when scoring first…This is the sixth time all season the Flyers have lost by a margin of three goals or more…The Flyers dropped to 0-4-0 against the Rangers and to 6-6-1 against the Atlantic Division on the season (NYR 0-4-0, PIT 2-0-0, NJD 2-1-1, NYI 2-1-0)…The Flyers dropped to 30-16-6 plus today. They were 34-13-5 after 52 games last season.