NEW YORK – When it comes to the Flyers, the NHL trade deadline just may have gotten a whole lot more interesting.
If the lower-body injury starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth suffered in Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers is of a serious nature, GM Ron Hextall may have to post a prominent “Help Wanted’’ sign on his front window.
Neuvirth lasted only one period in the Flyers’ 7-4 win at Madison Square Garden. He left in favor of minor league call-up Alex Lyon, who allowed only one goal the rest of the way.
But even if Lyon can hold up, the Flyers are still short in the goalie department because of the absence of No. 1 starter Brian Elliott, still a month away from returning from core muscle surgery.
While there isn’t a whole lot out there on the goaltender market, a few netminders have been mentioned in trade rumors, including Buffalo’s Robin Lehner, who is on the final year of his contract.
In 44 games for the Eastern Conference’s weakest team, Lehner has posted a record of 12-22-8 with a 2.95 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.
To a man, the Flyers say they are ready to continue their push for the playoffs, regardless of which goaltender happens to be standing between the pipes.
“Looking forward to Al getting his chance,’’ Travis Konecny commented. “Al stepped up and he’s probably going to be playing some hockey for us.’’
Shayne Gostisbehere believes his team can win under any circumstances.
“It’s tough but it’s the next-in-line mentality,’’ Gostisbehere said. “We’re playing with whomever is in. It is what it is. We’re going to play the same way.’’
Coach Dave Hakstol sounds encouraged to hear that his players are reacting that way.
“These guys have confidence in everybody in the dressing room,’’ Hakstol said. “Again, you never want to see injuries happen. . .(especially) in key areas. But it is part of the game.
“For us, with both Neuvy and Moose (Elliott) being down, it’s challenge. But Alex stepped in today, did the job. That’s what our guys will rally behind going forward.’’
Sunday’s game was a see-saw affair, with Konecny’s goal at 15:40 of the second period breaking a 4-4 tie to put the Flyers ahead for good.
The first period was river hockey at its best, with each team scoring three goals.
After a Kevin Hayes goal at 1:30, the Flyers tied it on an Andrew MacDonald goal at 4:53. Rick Nash put the Rangers ahead at 10:54 but Scott Laughton tipped Ivan Provorov’s shot through Henrik Lundqvist’s pads to make it 2-2.
Then after a nifty Claude Giroux set up a Brandon Manning goal at 14:51, Mats Zuccarello scored off a two on one at 17:21.
On that play, Neuvirth got up slowly and that might have been when he was injured.
In the second period, Nolan Patrick scored off a rebound at 2:01. That lead lasted only until Peter Holland connected in front at 5:47, with the Flyers defense nowhere to be found.
After Konecny’s goal, Giroux gave the Flyers some breathing room with his career goal No. 200 in the third period.
Jori Lehtera made it 7-4 with 7:14 to play for his first goal as a Flyer.c