The Flyers were no match for the Rangers in some sort of barometric matchup on Black Friday.
They fell to New York 3-1 at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers (10-9-1) have lost two straight games in regulation after reeling off a season-best five-game winning streak.
Mika Zibanejad continued to haunt the Flyers with two more goals. He has 18 against the Flyers in his career, the most against any team.
John Tortorella’s club was pinned in a 3-0 hole 7:41 into the stanza when Zibanejad made his second marker.
With 2:21 left in the second period, Sean Couturier put the Flyers within striking distance. He blocked Nick Siler’s shot to cut the Flyers’ deficit to 3-1.
But the Rangers (14-3-1) were one of the best goal-blocking teams in the NHL so far in Year 1 under former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. They finished the job.
The Flyers see New York three more times this season.
Listed attendance Friday afternoon was 19,032.
Last season, Rangers fans largely took over the Wells Fargo Center for a game in March.
“Hopefully we’ll get through this along the way. I’m not sure when,” Tortorella said at the time. “But bring it back to where that’s a tough ticket. And Rangers fans probably won’t be allowed in the building because we’ve packed it with our own people.”
Many New York fans made the trip Friday, but it wasn’t as lopsided as that game in March last season.
• The Flyers couldn’t afford a bad start and had one.
They gave up a 2-on-1 just 45 seconds into the game. Zibanejad buried the shot. Carter Hart had little chance to stop him.
Ryan Boehling was caught in the middle, leading to New York’s odd-man rush.
“A lot of weird people rushed in,” Tortorella said. “That’s really been a key component of our team this year, our discipline with that. We’re not being found anywhere with our back-checking.”
One minute and eight seconds later, Travis Sanheim committed a turnover in the defensive zone directly to Chris Kreider in the slot.
“He’s the best in the league at jumping off faceoffs,” Sanheim said. “Maybe there’s more awareness that he’s out there and maybe he’ll be a little more patient and see where he jumps, whether it’s inside or outside.”
The one-time 52-goal scorer quickly put one past Hart for a 2-0 lead not even two minutes into the game.
“There’s a striker every time,” Sanheim said. “If you watch the games, I play well every game.” “I don’t want to sit here and say I shouldn’t make this play because this is a play I make regularly. He just reads well, pivots and times it perfectly. It’s unfortunate that it ends up on the back end.” From the network.
“Obviously I would love to have that player back, but I make that play every game. I’ll continue to do that.”
Sanheim and Cam York, the Flyers’ top defensive duo, each finished with 2.
The first period quickly turned physical. Garnett Hathaway took a big hit from Jacob Trouba. The Flyers winger then delivered one over Ryan Lindgren. Both strikes led to fights. Hathaway’s hit led to a strong game for the Flyers, who are 0-for-6 in the game and 7-for-68 on the season.
• Hart recorded 16 saves on 19 shots. It was not a problem for the pilots. Starting the team was his biggest problem and the power play didn’t help either.
“I think in the first period, we talked about it between periods, and we’ve never seen so many odd guys rushing at us — 2-on-1, 3-on-2,” Cam Atkinson said. “I think it’s because our D-Team is anticipating the play, trying to surf and hoping our forwards will cover for them. But obviously our forwards weren’t. I think we were trying to cheat a little bit rather than foul out. The more cautious and supportive side D.”
Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin stopped 36 of the Flyers’ 37 shots.
The 2021-2022 Vezina Trophy winner heard his name chanted by New York fans.
“We may have outshot them, but their chances were glorious chances,” Tortorella said. “This is where our tracking was not found.”
• Video Tortorella and the Flyers improved to 4-for-4 in coach’s challenges this season when Kreider’s shorthanded goal in the third period was ruled out for offside.
• Noah Kitts was not on the bench to start the third period. However, he was able to return to the bench and the match.
The 24-year-old center needed about 30 stitches in his upper lip area after taking a pill to his face.
“I think they finished the stitches right when the third one started,” Cates said. “I went to get some water, regroup and take a breath. I don’t know when I got back there, but as quickly as I could. [The medical team] He did a great job.”
• Morgan Frost remained a healthy scratch. The 24-year-old center sat out half the season through 20 games.
• The Flyers return to action on Saturday when they meet the Islanders at UBS Arena for the second time in four days (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).
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