NEW YORK – Thanks to goaltender Carter Hart, the Flyers keep earning points.
But ultimately, what good does it do if your team continues to have trouble scoring goals?
Such was the dilemma on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Hart stopped all 30 New York Rangers shots in regulation time and five more in overtime before Chris Kreider scored on a solo rush with 52.8 seconds left in the extra session to hand the Flyers a 1-0 defeat.
It’s the second time in just over a week the Flyers have been blanked (a 3-0 loss to San Jose being the other). Without a doubt, the Flyers are playing well on defense but need to pick things up in the goal-scoring department.
“Carter gives us a chance, we just didn’t score,’’ coach John Tortorella said after the Flyers’ second straight overtime loss.
Tortorella wasn’t pleased with the effort in the second period when the Flyers had big-time trouble getting out of their own end.
“We got some guys it’s baptism by fire,’’ he said. “Against one of the top teams in the league. We’re going to have to live through it, Carter is going to have to play like he did tonight. He’s going to have to keep us in there.’’
Hart is off to probably the fastest start of his career. He won his first five decisions and really hasn’t had a letdown since.
“I think we just battled,’’ he said. “We came out and had a way better third period compared to our second, when we were trapped in our own zone.’’
At least the Flyers didn’t fall behind by a goal or two as has been their wont in recent games.
“We came out hard, put some pucks to the net, made simple plays,’’ Hart said. As for the improvement in the third, he added, “Guys getting available in lanes. I think it was just keeping it simple.’’
Can a team draw confidence from a performance like this? Usually the Flyers get caught up in a game of firewagon hockey when they visit MSG.
“I think we just have to keep working,’’ Hart said. “Guys put in the work and we’ll get rewarded for it.’’
Tony DeAngelo said the Flyers shouldn’t be satisfied with just the one point.
“That would be a loser’s mentality,’’ DeAngelo said with a smile. “We’re not looking to take one (point), we’re looking to take two. It’s a winning league. You want to win, you don’t want to lose. We ended up losing tonight.’’
Like his teammates, DeAngelo knows what Hart has meant to the squad’s early success.
“Great again, big reason we got the point in my opinion,’’ DeAngelo said of Hart. “He’s been great, so keep an eye on him.’’
At the end of the day, effort is not the issue. Both Tortorella and DeAngelo agree it’s more about execution.
“I don’t think effort is going to be our problem all year to be honest with you,’’ DeAngelo said. “We got a lot of hard-working guys. We just need to create a little bit more.’’
In the first period, the Flyers did a pretty good job keeping New York sharpshooters Artemi Panarin, Kreider and Mike Zibanejad from getting to their favorite spots.
What worked so well?
“I think just a lot of talk in the D-zone,’’ said defenseman Nick Seeler during a first intermission interview.
“Our forwards are doing a good job helping the [defense] break out a little bit. When we do get hemmed in a little bit we just come back to our structure and kind of force them to the outside, so I think that’s been a good thing but I think (in the second period) we need to play in their zone a little bit more.”
>Braun plays in 800th game
Flyers defenseman Justin Braun played in his 800th NHL game. The Rangers posted a thank you note on arenavision during a break in the action. Braun played for New York during their run to the Eastern Conference finals last season before returning to the Flyers as a free agent this season.
Tanner Laczynski, who became a new dad (son’s name Leo) on Saturday morning, was a scratch. . .The Flyers resume action Wednesday night when they visit Toronto to play the Maple Leafs. . .Due to the NHL’s new “balanced’’ schedule, this was the only time the Flyers will play the Rangers in New York this season.