Flyers

Flyers

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NEW YORK — The Flyers sucked the life out of Madison Square Garden.

And they may have sucked the life out of New York's playoff hopes.

For the third time this season and second time in three days, the Flyers impressively handled the Rangers, picking up a 5-3 win Sunday afternoon.

Ten different Flyers recorded at least a point and five scored goals. Travis Konecny (one goal, one assist), Derek Grant (one goal, one assist), Jakub Voracek (two assists) and Travis Sanheim (two assists) had multi-point games for the Flyers (38-20-7), who have won a season-best six straight games.

Since Jan. 8, the Flyers are 16-5-1 with an NHL-high 82 goals. Over that stretch, their 33 points are tied for most in the league with the Lightning and Bruins.

Coming into Sunday, the Flyers held second place in the Metropolitan Division, a 94.6 percent chance to make playoffs and a 17.4 chance to win the division. They are one point behind the first-place Capitals, who play the Wild Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

The Rangers (35-26-4) have lost three matchups with the Flyers by a combined score of 15-6. New York entered the action two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Both teams meet once more on April 1 at Madison Square Garden.

 

• Over a span of 21 days, the Flyers have put a serious dent into the postseason chances of three teams — the Panthers, Blue Jackets and Rangers. Since Feb. 10, the Flyers have gone 6-0-0 against those bubble clubs, a sign that this 2019-20 group is more than just a bubble squad itself.

The Flyers are a top-six team in the NHL and a contender.

• New York made things interesting with two power play goals in the third period. All of the Rangers' goals were on the man advantage.

Head coach Alain Vigneault did not use his timeout.

"We took our foot off the gas a little bit instead of going after them, putting a little bit more pressure," Vigneault said. "But sometimes it's easier to learn lessons when you win. It hurts a lot more when you lose. I think there's a little lesson here to be learned for us and we'll get ready for Washington — it's going to be a tough game."

• One of the toughest players — if not the toughest — on the Flyers is Sean Couturier.

When Vigneault said in the morning that his do-it-all center would be a game-time decision because of the flu, the expectation was Couturier would play.

And he did.

Couturier scored a goal to give him 53 points (19 goals, 34 assists) and a plus-27 rating in his last 55 games. It would take a whole lot to keep him out of a game, especially this one.

• Carter Hart, who is 18-2-2 at home but 4-10-1 on the road, has won two of his last three away games — a real good sign.

In his first game since Feb. 11, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist had a bad time with the Flyers. Lundqvist turns 38 years old Monday and has lost six straight to the orange and black. He also owns 35 wins against them.

Fans chanted "Hen-rik" early in the game but the Flyers silenced the crowd with three first-period goals from Couturier (power play), Matt Niskanen (power play) and Michael Raffl (shorthanded).

• With nice touch, the Rangers saluted Vigneault and Kevin Hayes as both returned to MSG (see story).

• The book on Grant has been that he's not the most skilled forward. He has size, competes in the faceoff dot and takes great pride in the defensive aspect of his position.

Well, he's clearly got some skill, too. He scored his first goal with the Flyers as his team started running away with the game during the second period.

 

Solid addition so far for the Flyers.

• The Flyers are off Monday and practice Tuesday in Voorhees, New Jersey before visiting the Capitals Wednesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSN).

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