The Flyers return to action on Saturday night when they visit the Buffalo Sabres for the first half of a back-to-back which concludes on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. . .Yeo indicated rookie Bobby Brink was even better in this game than he was in his NHL debut in Washington. “I thought he actually took a step from last game,’’ Yeo said. “I thought in the game in Washington he looked really good on the power play. I liked that he was strong on the puck.’’
PHILADELPHIA – It certainly was a better brand of hockey than the previous night’s effort but that was small consolation to a Flyers team still smarting from its worst defeat of the season.
The Flyers wanted to redeem themselves from Tuesday night’s 9-2 drubbing in Washington but knew it would be a challenge against the New York Rangers with so many new players on the injured list including veterans Cam Atkinson, Rasmus Ristolainen, Patrick Brown, Nate Thompson and goaltender Carter Hart.
Earlier in the day, goaltender Felix Sandstrom, defenseman Egor Zamula and forward Tanner Laczynski were all called up from the Phantoms to fill in holes in the lineup.
With that much inexperience added to an already rookie-filled lineup, the outcome was predictable. The Flyers wound up on the short end of a 4-0 score at the Wells Fargo Center.
Alexander Georgiev recorded the shutout in goal for the Rangers.
“We had a couple lapses, it happened in the Washington game probably a little bit more,’’ Scott Laughton explained. “We give some of the big boys good looks. We had a couple good penalty kills (including nearly two full minutes of a Ranger five-on-three power play). I thought we were better than last night but when you don’t get results, it’s frustrating.’’
Interim head coach Mike Yeo couldn’t fault his team’s effort. As usual, it was all about execution for the team with the NHL’s worst record since Jan. 1.
“I don’t think effort was an issue tonight,’’ Yeo said. “We came out flying, dominating in shots. It’s a really tough thing to build when you’re not getting results, without getting wins.’’
The three call-ups held their own.
“I thought our young kids did a really good job tonight,’’ Yeo said. “I thought ‘Laz’ gave us some good shifts. Big ‘Z’ (Zamula). . .his sticks were good, poised with the puck.’’
Kaapo Kakko scored goals in each of the first two periods and Artemi Panarin added a third to provide the Rangers with a three-goal lead after two periods.
Kakko had an easy time of it on the first goal at 10:20. The Flyers defense had a coverage breakdown and Kakko was allowed to skate to the hash marks before firing a shot past Sandstrom.
In the second period, Kakko struck again. As was the case on the first goal, the Flyers coverage lacked something. Laczynski had his stick poised to block a pass from Filip Chytil in the corner. But the puck eluded Laczynski and Kakko was left with an easy tap-in.
On the Panarin goal, the sharpshooter was left unguarded at the left post and simply one-timed Jacob Trouba’s pass into the net at 11:03. In the third period, Andrew Copp added an empty-net goal with 1:53 to play.
Sandstrom has played well in both of his NHL starts.
“I thought he was great, looked really calm, confident,’’ Yeo said. “That five-on-three we looked to be a turning point in the game, that was a massive kill for almost a full two minutes. But we weren’t able to get that next goal. But I thought he played a really strong game.’’
Sandstrom said: “I always try to go out there and do my best, no matter where it is, what day it is. It is, for sure, fun to play here and the guys did a great job looking out for me in both my starts this year. It’s been great getting my development here, and now I’m focusing on the next game.’’
Ivan Provorov said the Flyers might have to think about changing their shooting mindset.
“I think we have to have a better mentality about shooting the puck,’’ he said. “Sometimes we’re just looking for that extra play, thinking that extra pass – we need to shoot the puck a little more. Rebounds create chaos. We have to do that a little more and the bounces will go our way.”
Added Yeo: “You can’t try to make the extra play to get the perfect shot to get that grade-A scoring chance. You still have to continue to shoot pucks and go to the net. Not wait for those opportunities. We can be shooters a little bit more through the course of the game.’’
>Tribute to Snider
On the sixth anniversary of original team founder/chairman Ed Snider’s passing, the Flyers offered a video tribute during a break in the action in the first period.
In attendance were many Snider family members. The video highlighted many of Snider’s contributions to hockey, including his famous Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.
Flyers players wore Snider Hockey T-shirts and hats pre-game and wore Snider helmet decals with his initials, EMS, during the game. Flyers coaches and executives also wore Snider Hockey pins to honor Snider.