Hold your breath, Flyers fans. Things could become very interesting.
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated their rival New York 4-2 Tuesday. Contending with the Rangers for the final playoff spot, Philadelphia cut their point deficit to five.
Brayden Schenn opened the Flyers’ scoring. Halfway through the first period, Danny Briere passed to the high slot for rookie Brandon Manning. Manning’s wrist shot was deflected, but fell to Schenn near goal. The forward smoothly stroked the puck past Henrik Lundqvist, and gave Philly the lead. Erik Gustaffson would add to the lead late in the first period. His slap shot from the right wing ended up in the Ranger net, and the game stood at 2-0 after the first period.
Mats Zuccarello would halve the lead in the second period. The Flyers began a line change, leaving ample space on the ice. The Rangers calmly brought the puck through the neutral zone, and would eventually score through Zuccarello. Kimmo Timonen erased the goal with a snipe of his own. Midway through the period, Claude Giroux notched a crisp faceoff win. The puck set up Timonen for the one-time slap shot, and he delivered the Flyers’ third goal.
In the third, Derek Stephan scored from near the Flyers net to cut the lead to one. Ryan Callahan’s shot was blocked, but fell to Stephan perfectly for the Rangers’ second goal. The Rangers failed to tie the game, however, as the Flyers held. Jak Voracek sealed the win, with an empty-netter off a pass from Kimmo Timonen.
The win put the Flyers back into the playoff race, if only just. With a difficult five games remaining, a hopper of teams to overtake, and a five point defecit, the task appears difficult. However, that is why fans enjoy sports to such extents: anything can happen.
Philadelphia improved to 19-21-3, and will host the Devils Thursday, 7:30 PM at the Wells Fargo Center.