From the opening minute, it was clear the Flyers weren’t quite finished with their losing streak – which sits now at four games.
An early goal by Ryan Callahan foreshadowed a night of Rangers’ scoring and physical dominance.
New York outworked the Flyers along the boards, stealing pucks from them and then making it impossible for the boys in orange and black to get it back. Rangers’ skaters out-hustled the Flyers to pucks in the open ice and forced them back on their heels.
From there, it was just a matter of finding the open man and beating the goalie – which the Rangers had no trouble doing all afternoon as they cruised to an easy 7-0 win.
Ryan Callahan scored two in the first period, then one more in each of the next two for a four goal game. Mats Zuccarello notched two of his own, and Artmen Anisimov found the back of the net as well.
Brian Boucher was pulled after the Rangers’ fourth – Callahan’s hat trick goal – about six minutes into the second.
If the Flyers were to have any chance of getting back in this game, Laviolette should have taken Boucher out and called a timeout to get his team’s head in the game one goal and a minute-and-a-half earlier, when his team fell down 3-0.
Sergei Bobrovsky played relatively well from then on, giving up one less goal than Boucher on as many shots – most of which were courtesy of complete defensive breakdowns.
The Flyers tried to use their fists to generate the energy and excitement they needed – Mike Richards threw his body around for a shift before dropping the gloves with Brandon Dubinsky – but to no avail.
The Rangers still skated faster and fought harder for the pucks, and the score is a pretty clear indicator of that.
The last time the Flyers faced the Rangers, they didn’t taken a single penalty.
This time around, they took six trips to the box courtesy of minor penalties. You stop skating, stop trying, and you’re going to take hooking/tripping/interference penalties just like this.
More and more lately, the Flyers’ defense is emerging as a weak point despite it’s apparent depth. Lost battles lead to blown coverage which lead to goals.
Until they start to play more careful hockey and make a better effort, this slump will keep on going.
And unless they turn things around soon, they will be overtaken by the teams immediately below them in the standings – the two points separating the Flyers and Bruins doesn’t seem like much when one team keeps winning and the other keeps losing.
So here’s hoping that Laviolette’s promise for wins after the loss to Buffalo comes true. Whether it means a closed door meeting or leaders calling teammates out on their faults, something has to happen to shake their mindset up.