Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 79: NYR 3, PHI 0 - Georgies Christ
Flatter than a tire on a road of nails.
The Philadelphia Flyers lose, approximately 3-0 to the New York Rangers. You don't need to know the final score precisely - we all knew how this game was going to go. After being officially eliminated on Saturday, the Flyers treated Sunday like a game that didn't matter, because it didn't, much to the dismay of NBC executives everywhere.
There were two distinct Flyers teams. The first looked more like the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. For about half of the game, the Flyers looked outclassed, concerning considering the Rangers team they were facing is seven points below them in the standings. Carter Hart played admirably, making several big saves on breakaways, one-timers, and odd-man rushes alike. Hart was beaten by a wide open slot shot, another wide open slot shot, and a double deflection off two teammates. Can't blame him for this game.
However, it's not like the Flyers didn't create anything offensively. The other half of the game was spent peppering the Rangers net with several high quality chances, including three power plays and a breakaway for JVR. But the Flyers were facing a backup (if you can call Alexander Georgiev that; but it's hard to call Henrik Lundqvist that either), and as a result were stoned on every chance. It's the first time since January 7th that the Flyers have been shutout (which was by Jordan Binnington, who was a backup at the time), but the 7th time this year. Not good enough.
All this game did was reinforce the narrative that changes need to be made, that this team simply isn't good enough as is. They've proved that at several points this season. Anyone who thought the changes made mid-season made them good enough should take a good look at the Flyers shot differentials under Scott Gordon and their 3-7-0 last 10 games and strongly reconsider. They're not as far off as they looked Sunday. But they're not there yet.
If you want to take a positive out of this loss (other than Carter Hart), hey, all that really matters right now is the draft lottery. Right now, the Flyers are the 2nd best team not in a playoff spot. But there are about six teams with realistic odds to catch them, meaning the Flyers could wind up with a top-10 pick if things go right (and by right, I mean wrong) during the season's final weeks. Doing so would also raise the Flyers chances at pulling off another lottery miracle and jumping into the top three.
Even if the Flyers had won yesterday, Montreal and Columbus both won, which would have eliminated them regardless.
The Flyers goalie carousel was on display against the Rangers all season long. In order of least recently to most, Calvin Pickard, Michal Neuvirth, Anthony Stolarz, and Carter Hart have started against the Rags this season.
Sam Morin did not play today - the coaching staff felt he wasn't physically ready to play in a back-to-back. Shayne Gostisbehere checked back in, but saw Travis Sanheim take over his spot on the top power play unit for a portion of the game.
The Flyers generated four power plays in this game, but didn't score despite some good puck movement. The funny part? Defenseman Brendan Smith, the Rangers leader in penalties, took all four infractions, including two in a 2:02 span.
Left winger Matthew Strome's Hamilton Bulldogs were eliminated from the OHL Playoffs today. As a result, Strome, a 2017 4th round pick, was assigned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to help with their playoff push. He still needs to improve his skating, but did put up 79 points in 68 games this season.
Finally, some history - this was the first ever Flyers-Rangers matchup when both teams had already been eliminated from playoff contention. It's just the second season ever that both will miss the playoffs, joining the 92-93 season. It really speaks to the success of both franchises over the years.
1st - A. Georgiev (NYR) - 1.000 SV% (29 Saves/29 Shots)
2nd - P. Buchnevich (NYR) - 1 G
3rd - M. Staal (NYR) - 19:41 TOI (4:02 SH), 4 Blocked Shots
NYR - 4/1 @ NJ (29-40-10)
PHI - 4/2 @ DAL (41-31-7)