There used to be two things that were certain in life: Death and Taxes. Now there might be a third certainty: The Flyers will lose in a shootout.
Since the year 2009, the Flyers have gone 20-42 in shootouts. On average, that ranks 25th in the league over the last 6 seasons. So when Rangers’ Keith Yandle blasted a shot passed Flyers goalie Steve Mason to tie the game at 2s with 12.9 left in the third period, it was all but a certainty the Flyers would lose the game if they couldn’t score in the brief, 5 minute overtime.
Although the first period ended in a scoreless tie, there was plenty of action and controversey that will surely be discussed in the upcoming days. Roughly 10 minutes into the first period, Flyers’ winger Wayne Simmonds sucker-punched Rangers’ captain Ryan McDonagh after some pushing and shoving in front of the Rangers’ bench. Simmonds was given a match penalty and then a game misconduct. After arguing with the referee, Simmonds threw his stick before leaving the ice. A suspension is likely. Simmonds was unavailable to speak with the media after the game.
The Flyers are hoping not to be without Simmonds for too long. He entered today’s game on a hot streak, having scored 6 goals and 3 assists over a five-game point streak that included 2 goals and an assist in Philadelphia’s last game, a 6-3 victory at Nashville on Thursday.
The Rangers were obviously livid to see their captain go down with an apparent head injury. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault spoke after the game about losing his captain for this game and possibly the foreseeable future:
“I mean Ryan McDonagh’s our captain and a big part of our team but, at the end of the day you have to keep playing,” Vigneault said. “He’s precautionary right now, we will know more tomorrow.”
Philadelphia opened the scoring 7 minutes into the second period with a Shayne Gostisbehere power-play goal from the top of the blue line. The goal was his 9th of the season. Along with an assist in the third period, Gostisbehere extended his scoring streak to seven games (2-8-10). Per the Elias Sports Bureau, “Ghost” has established a new franchise record for the longest scoring streak by a rookie defenseman, surpassing a six-game streak by Dick Cherry in 1968-69. The streak is the second-longest for any rookie in Flyers history, behind only Mikael Renberg’s 10-game streak during the 1993-94 season.
After the game, Ghost spoke about how tough it is losing a game after being seconds away from winning it:
“Yeah, I mean, for sure,” he said. “Every time you give up a goal in the last minute, it definitely stings a little. But I think we kept with it in overtime and had the score mentality… it didn’t turn out in our favor.”
Ghost’s second period goal was shortly credited to Flyers’ RW Ryan White. White went on to score what seemed like the game winner (his 6th of the season) in the third period.
After a modest 3-game winning streak, the Flyers fall back down to 7th place in the Metropolitan Division. After a crushing shootout loss after being 12.9 seconds away from winning in regulation, the Flyers immediately face the league’s top team, Washington Capitals in Washington tomorrow at noon.
Shayne Gostisbehere said it best when asked what a loss like this one takes out of a team right before playing the Capitals less then 24 hours later:
“It’s definitely pretty tough, but again, it’s how we respond,” he said. “We know we’ve got a big game tomorrow and we knew it before this game. But it’s one game at a time for us. We’re just gonna take everything in stride and be ready for Washington.”