Flyers

Best of NHL: Rangers storm back in 3rd period to drop Golden Knights

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Best of NHL: Rangers storm back in 3rd period to drop Golden Knights

NEW YORK -- Mika Zibanejad got the tiebreaking goal with 5:39 left and the New York Rangers scored four in the third period to rally for a 6-4 win over the expansion Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.

Jimmy Vesey, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich and Michael Graber scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves. Zibanejad also had assists on the first two goals in the third, helping the Rangers win for the third time in seven games (3-2-2).

Reilly Smith scored twice, Oscar Lindberg got a goal against his former team and David Perron converted a penalty shot for Vegas, which has lost consecutive games after winning five straight. Maxime Lagace, the fourth goalie used by the Golden Knights this season, stopped 32 shots in his first NHL start.

Kreider pulled the Rangers to 4-3 with a power-play goal as he took a pass from Zibanejad and beat Lagace from the left side for his third at 5:31 of the third.

Buchnevich tied it nearly four minutes later, taking a pass from Zibanejad on the left side and putting it into the open net with Lagace out of position after moving forward in the crease. It gave Buchnevich a goal for the third straight game.

Grabner added an empty-netter with 1:14 left to seal it (see full recap).

Hellebuyck, Jets edge Wild to continue roll
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves, and Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor scored for the Winnipeg Jets in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Ehlers scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season and Connor added his second for Winnipeg, which is 6-1-1 since an 0-2 start to the season.

Rookie Luke Kunin scored his second goal of the season and goaltender Alex Stalock stopped 17 shots for Minnesota, which had won two in a row and three of its previous four games.

The Wild were 0 for 5 on the power play.

Hellebuyck continued his strong run in net for the Jets, who had made the move to acquire Steve Mason as the starting netminder in the offseason. While Mason has a 4.84 goals-against average and .872 save percentage in his four games, Hellebuyck's numbers rank among the league's best.

He entered the game sixth in the NHL in save percentage (.937). Hellebuyck (6-0-1) is the only goaltender in the NHL who has made at least five starts and is undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Red Wings ride fast start to win over Coyotes
DETROIT -- Anthony Mantha scored his team-leading fifth goal and Dylan Larkin added a goal and an assist as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Knowing the Coyotes (1-11-1) had played the night before in Philadelphia, where they won in overtime for their first victory of the season, the Red Wings applied the pressure early. They fired the first eight shots on goal and scored twice before the game was three minutes old.

Gustav Nyquist intercepted a clearing attempt by Arizona defenseman Alex Goligoski and threaded a shot through traffic that beat goalie Scott Wedgewood at 1:31 of the first period.

Detroit made it 2-0 at 2:37 when Luke Glendening snapped a high wrist shot past Wedgewood on the blocker side.

The Coyotes got on the board 11:36 into the second when Jason Demers took a feed from Clayton Keller and his point shot eluded a partially screened Jimmy Howard.

But the Red Wings didn't allow the Coyotes a chance to start feeling good. Mantha made it 3-1 at 13:03, chipping a pass from Andreas Athanasiou behind Wedgewood (see full recap).

Ding dong, the Flyers-Penguins rivalry is gone

Ding dong, the Flyers-Penguins rivalry is gone

Michal Neuvirth stood by his locker Wednesday night dejected, like the rest of his teammates, after the Flyers’ latest blunder, an embarrassing 5-0 loss on home ice to the Penguins in Game 4.

The Flyers are on the brink of elimination to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, and Wednesday's defeat was the latest reminder of their current state of affairs.

"Definitely good to get in the mix," said Neuvirth, who replaced Brian Elliott in the second period for his first game action since March 28. "But tough outcome tonight. We lost it to a better team tonight."

With that, Neuvirth perfectly encapsulated exactly where the Flyers stand in this first-round playoff series with Pittsburgh. It's definitely good to be in the mix, and they lost to the better team.

We've heard that before and we'll hear it again, but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow. This Flyers team isn't quite there yet, to compete with the Penguins or in the playoffs.

There are encouraging signs. The postseason experience will pay off in the long run — it's better than not being there. Nolan Patrick, 19, has perhaps been the Flyers' most consistent forward in the series. He was the only player who competed Wednesday.

But goaltending remains an eyesore and rookie mistakes are consistently being made by veterans, and some appear immune to accountability. Game 4 was as ugly as it gets (see story), and that's counting a series that included a 7-0 loss in Game 1.

The Flyers were never really in Wednesday's game outside of about a two-minute stretch in the first period, when they were buzzing in the Pittsburgh zone until a Scott Laughton centering pass turned into a Penguins odd-man rush.

Bang, 2-0 Pittsburgh. Ballgame.

"From our standpoint," Dave Hakstol said, "we have to look from within. There's going to be momentum swings, there are going to be pushes, but we haven't been able to reestablish our game quick enough to give ourselves an opportunity."

Wednesday served as another grim reminder. This Flyers-Penguins rivalry, well, isn't much of a rivalry and hasn't been one in quite some time now.

Coming into this series, we heard the old storylines, about how much these two teams hate each other, how close games are, but the hate hasn't been there for a while and the games, they haven't been close, either.

The Penguins have dominated the Flyers, this season especially. With the 5-0 win Wednesday, the Pens have outscored the Flyers, 38-17, in eight total games and 20-4 in games played at the Wells Fargo Center.

The hype machine was on full blast and we all bought into it. It's the playoffs, different animal, but some things never change no matter the environment.

At some point, it's time to bury the hatchet.

It was fun while it lasted, but for now, the Flyers-Penguins rivalry is no more.

Another home nightmare has Flyers walking the plank

Another home nightmare has Flyers walking the plank

BOX SCORE

After watching what transpired over the last two games, there’s a strong feeling the Flyers played their final game on South Broad Street this season.

And for those who forked over postseason prices for Stanley Cup Playoff hockey, those fans certainly didn’t receive face value for what they paid.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Flyers dropped Games 3 and 4 on home ice, and neither game was even remotely competitive. After the Flyers lost, 5-1, in Game 3, the Penguins dimmed the lights at the Wells Fargo Center and shut off any electricity the crowd was hoping to generate in Game 4 with a 5-0 shutout (see observations).

Simply put, the Flyers looked deflated and dejected knowing they would be forced to play without Sean Couturier, who was a game-time decision but officially ruled out 40 minutes before the opening faceoff.

“They came out hard,” Andrew MacDonald said. “We kind of looked a bit flustered and I don’t know if it was attributed to the lines or what, but it certainly wasn’t a great start for us.”

Whatever rivalry existed between the Flyers and Penguins coming into this season was hardly recognizable in the four games played in Philadelphia (two regular season, two playoff), where the home team was outscored 20-4 (see story).

Just the mere presence of the Penguins in this building is expected to bring out the best in the Flyers. Instead, we saw them at their worst, and nothing irks Flyers fans more than watching Sidney Crosby walk out of the City of Brotherly Love with six points and two victories in a pair of playoff games. 

“It’s disappointing,” Dave Hakstol said. “You take that upon yourself. Bluntly, we’re not happy about it. It wasn’t good enough.”

The Flyers may have fed off the home crowd for one period on Sunday afternoon, but even as they barraged the Penguins with constant pressure, they still found themselves down 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes. After a slew of penalties in the second period, the Flyers were never the same.

Disapproval poured down Wednesday when the Flyers flopped on their power play, which finished 0 for 10 in the two games on home ice, and the crowd of 19,644 booed unmercifully as the horn sounded after each period.

With the Wells Fargo Center half empty midway through the third period, the postseason frenzy felt more like a preseason yawner. 

“Fire Hakstol” chants could be heard from the upper deck — the first time that phrase echoed throughout the building since the 10-game winless streak in November.

Prior to this week, the lasting memory of a playoff series against Pittsburgh was Claude Giroux decking Crosby on the opening shift of Game 6 in 2012 and then proceeding to score the first goal as the Flyers eliminated their cross-state rival.

For whatever reason, the Flyers never evolved into a dominant team on home ice this season. The Flyers' 22 wins were the fewest of the 16 teams to reach the postseason and even three non-playoff teams finished with better records at home.  

At times, the Flyers played too cute or tried to execute too perfectly in their building, but in this series, it was just too ugly.

“Earn Tomorrow” was the Flyers' playoff slogan coming into this series.

After what the Wells Fargo Center witnessed this week, a chance at tomorrow may be too much to bear.