Flyers Unable To Solve Lundqvist, Rangers

26 Nov

NEW YORK — For the first time all season, the Flyers played a goalie two days in a row. But Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t the reason why the Flyers lost to the Rangers 2-0. In fact, the 23-year-old netminder is the only reason that the beating wasn’t worse.

“Just based on the way Bob played, I think he deserved to go back in there,” said Peter Laviolette. “He didn’t get a lot of work [Friday] night. There weren’t a lot of chances at him. He was fresh and he came in and for two games in a row, five periods, he really gave us an opportunity to win a game and we did twice so it wasn’t really a hard decision.”

In the first Winter Classic primer of the year, the Flyers came out with a great physical effort, but hung Bobrovsky out to dry in the first period when he was forced to make 12 saves. He was very sharp and his rebound control was especially impressive. He swallowed up the puck whenever he could in the early going.

With a first period reminiscent of that in Friday’s contest, the Flyers were hoping for a better second period, but when the middle stanza started, the Rangers struck quickly, making up for all the times Bobrovsky robbed them in the first. Only 30 seconds in, it looked like the Rangers had struck on the power play, but a video review ruled that Ryan Callahan had swept the puck in with his glove. But 24 seconds later, they got a good goal when Brad Richards took a shot from the left wing that beat Bobrovsky with Callahan screening him in front of the net.

While the Flyers got close to the Rangers in shots in the second period and eventually caught up to the final totals in the third, they were unable to sustain any pressure on Henrik Lundqvist who was able to solve the Flyers every time they shot at him.

They weren’t able to get pressure, but the got physical. The biggest hit of the game came in the first period, but they’d like to have it back. Andreas Nodl ran into Danny Briere. Briere got up and slammed his stuck in frustration, but Nodl got the worst of it. He played only two shifts in the second period and did not appear on the bench in the third period.

“He said he never saw me,” said Briere. “He was trying to get to the puck to throw it back in, and he probably felt someone coming and tried to get out of the way and when I was coming. I was coming with a lot of speed. I thought he was going to shield the puck with his body from the defenseman and give me the outside lane.”

General manager Paul Holmgren said that Nodl has an upper-body injury, but his status for next Friday’s game is unsure. Meanwhile, things weren’t getting better for the Flyers who struggled to get pressure.

“It was a frustrating game where you work hard to get the puck and it just seemed like — I don’t know if we just gave up or we didn’t have the support that we needed to in the corners and things like that,” said Scott Hartnell. “They’d have four guys attacking and it seemed like we were always backtracking and playing D-zone coverage. Not Flyers hockey, supporting hockey, skating, moving with each other. We seemed like we were just standing, waiting for someone else to do it.”

Bobrovsky was taxed so much that in the final period that he finally had a breakdown. After making the initial save on a shot from Carl Hagelin, Bobrovsky thought he had the puck in his glove, but lost the rebound and Hagelin found it for his first goal of the season in his second game.

Peter Laviolette wasn’t pleased with the effort in the first period on Friday either and made a speech that a few Flyers said was the angriest they’ve seen the coach get. While it worked then, there was no cure for the Flyers’ woes on Saturday.

“It woke us up for sure [Friday],” said Hartnell. “When you dropkick a garbage can 30 feet across the room, it’s gonna wake somebody up.”

But that message loses effectiveness if it has to be used often. On Saturday, the situation arose again, but the result was different.

“I think the effort was there, just the support and us playing ‘together hockey’ and supporting each other wasn’t there,” said Hartnell.

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