There is a difference between out-working and out-executing. The Philadelphia Flyers learned that the hard way.
The Flyers outshot the Rangers 13-4 in the second period generating numerous scoring chances and spending much of their time in the Rangers zone. The only problem? New York was the only team to score in the second period thanks to Dan Girardi’s first goal of the playoffs and his second point of the game.
Like Sunday, the Flyers fell into an early 2-0 thanks to goals by Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis. “Not an ideal start goal-wise,” Flyers netminder Ray Emery explained after the game.
And, like Sunday, the Flyers responded with a goal of their own late in the first period only this time Jakub Voracek wasn’t scoring the goal, he was setting it up. Voracek gained a head of steam entering the New York zone then stopped on a dime to get the puck to Mark Streit, who beat Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-1.
The second period belonged to the Flyers but where it mattered, the scoreboard, the Rangers walked away winning the period. “We just played a lot harder than we did in game two,” Girardi said of how the Rangers held onto their lead in the second. “And that shows through desperation.”
In the third period, the first goal was likely going to determine the winner. If the Flyers could get on the board first, they would cut the Rangers lead in half and get momentum – not to mention bring the noise in the Wells Fargo Center to levels that could make your ears bleed. If the Rangers scored, it would give the Flyers a huge mountain to climb with less than a period to accomplish the feat.
It was the latter.
Just over five minutes into the period, Brian Boyle and Dan Carcillo headed in on an odd-man rush towards Emery. Carcillo, a former Flyer, had caught the ire of fans early in the game with his post-whistle antics. The fans cheered when he was hit with a puck in the second period and booed him in the third when he flopped and stayed down on the ice after a collision with Matt Read in the neutral zone.
“Nothing surprises me about this city and the way people act,” Carcillo said after the game.
Boyle made a beautiful pass to the center and Carcillo redirected it through Emery to put the Rangers up 4-1. Carcillo celebrated by pounding on the glass further exciting the fans. “When you don’t get qualified by a team it basically means that don’t want you so to come back and score a big goal…” Carcillo explained before changing the subject to the team win.
That’s all Ray Emery would see as Craig Berube brought in Steve Mason to get some work but he only faced three shots for the remainder of the game as the Flyers lost 4-1.
Despite the loss and rather lopsided score, the Flyers improved their play. They won a lot of puck battles in the corners, out-shot New York 32-23 and, surprisingly, cut down on their penalties although three first-period power plays for the Rangers still put the Flyers at a disadvantage early.
There are still areas of improvement as the Rangers blocked 28 Flyers shots. “Obviously too many,” Flyers head coach Craig Berube said following the loss. “Twenty-eight blocked shots they had. We have to do a better job. We didn’t do a better job getting pucks through the net tonight.”
Flyers captain Claude Giroux knows the importance of improving in each game and didn’t pull any punches with what he expected for Game 4 on Friday.
“We’ll be ready for game four. We’re going to tie up this series and go back to New York.”