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Rangers Reclaim Misplaced Power Play from Wells Fargo Center Lost & Found

Feb 11, 2012, 4:49 PM EDT

New York had not scored on 5-on-4 man advantage in its last 35 opportunities, but scored the first three of its goals on the power play against the Flyers on Saturday.

Leave it to the Flyers to reignite the Rangers’ power play.

New York had not scored on a 5-on-4 man-advantage in its last hour-plus of opportunities, but notched the first three of its goals on the power play against the Flyers on Saturday. Only the fourth and fifth tallies came during 5-on-5 action.

The 5-2 loss is the Flyers’ fifth to the Rangers on the season and their seventh in a row.

The Flyers now trail the first place Rangers by six points in both the division and the conference.

Everything that went wrong (that we care to remember) after the jump…

Tom Sestito was Framed, Danny Briere is Aggrieved

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The game opened in the typically chippy Flyers-Rangers style, and got nasty in a hurry. About eight minutes in, Tom Sestito was involved in a scrum in front of the Ranger net. New York’s Stu Bickel dropped the gloves long before Sestito ever did, though the two were ultimately stopped from fighting by two (apparently insane) linesmen. Both threw punches over the top of the officials, neither were charged with fighting majors, but both were issued 10-minute misconducts. In the middle of it all, Sestito was somehow charged with an extra two minutes for roughing, despite Bickel, as we previously mentioned, dropping his gloves well before the guy charged with extra penalty (we’re working on finding a video).

The ensuing Ranger power play would give the team its first 5-on-4 power play goal in its last 36 opportunities.

Enraged at the additional penalty on Sestito following the goal, (unofficial Flyer captain) Danny Briere — who had been serving the extra two minutes on Sestito’s behalf — was promptly issued a 10-minute misconduct of his own for, what we assume, was a dispute with the referees. The whole scenario set the tone for what was to be a very painful afternoon for the Orange & Black.

Claude Giroux Will Not Be Denied, but the Flyers Continue to Give it Right Away

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Wayne Simmonds would tie the game at the 13:03 mark of the first, but the Flyers would quickly surrender another power play goal — just three-and-a-half minutes later — this time on a brilliant redirection from Marion Gaborik.

Six minutes into the second, Simmonds would spring Giroux for a breakaway on Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Despite a handful of dekes, Lundqvist would make the initial save, only to have Giroux push the puck under the goalie’s outstretched arm and over the goal line. As our Matt P. described it via IM: “Henrik made the save, but Giroux was like, ‘no f@$%ing way.’”

Sadly, as is too typical of this team (and this franchise’s history), the Flyers would see any increase in momentum immediately squashed by yet another Ranger goal (this time) less than three minutes later after a Scott Hartnell goaltender interference penalty. Ryan Callahan would take the opportunity to cash in for the second of his three goals in the game on the ensuing power play.

The Third Period ClusterCuss and Two More Ranger Goals
Is it just me, or did the 24/7 series make Artem Anisimov completely insufferable to deal with? Every time I see him, I remember him fumbling to explain his “sniper” goal celebration against Tampa Bay and just generally wishing for him to disappear. Watching him light the lamp for the Rangers’ put away goal 6:28 into the third, therefore, was all the more annoying.

From there, the game would devolve into a series of scrums and fights and generally bad hockey. Callahan scored his final goal of the game for his second career hat trick and Zac Rinaldo, Tom Sestito and New York’s Brandon Prust would all be issued 10-minute misconducts that — with less than 10 minutes left in the game — would end their afternoons.

I would explain the third in more detail, but, to be honest, once Anisimov made it 4-2, the game was over long before the horn sounded.

Fortunate Notes
– Wayne Simmonds continued his recent hot streak with a goal, assist, and (hey even) five penalty minutes. Simmonds has registered at least a point in five of his last six games, scoring five goals and dishing out two assists for seven points. He also notched the Flyers’ second straight Gordie Howe hat trick in as many games, following Scott Hartnell’s example from Thursday’s win over Toronto.

– Speaking of Hartsy,  he gave a thumbs up to a fan after a get together by the boards in the first period.

– If there were other fortunate notes, they have been lost in the depressing shuffle.

Unfortunate Notes
– Ryan Callahan’s hat trick was the second of his career. The first
came against (guess who) the Flyers on March 6, 2011 when he lit the
lamp not three, but four times.

– Honestly, all the #HartnellDown stuff is fun, and I’ve turned a positive
corner on Hartsy as of late, but there are times when his lackluster
skating is a legitimate harm. His Luis-Mendoza-like inability to stop
himself from running into Lundqvist was just such an instance. Fans in
attendance booed the call, and while it wasn’t an egregious or even
intentional interference, he did run into the goaltender and was not in
anyway forced into contact. His poor skating cost the Flyers a goal.

– The Flyers were abused in front of their own net. Without Chris Pronger, or really any big, banging defenseman to clear the porch, the Flyers aren’t giving their goaltenders much help by handing opponents pucks and wide open nets from inside of 10 feet. Too many Ranger goals were scored from space that wasn’t earned, but rather ceded by the Flyers in front. It’s isn’t much wonder why the Flyers struggle against clubs like New York and Boston — they just get out-muscled.

– Sure, Sean Couturier is a valuable part of this team, and clearly benefiting from playing at the top level rather than juniors, but does anyone else think his skating with Rinaldo and Sestito is at least of questionable value to his development? I worded that as nicely as humanly possible, and, to be clear, none of the fault lies with the center on that line.

– The Flyers continue to struggle with games before 7 p.m., losing another to drop to 4-7-1 this season.

– Their home record isn’t much better either. Typically known for having a strong home ice advantage — remember the Philadelphia Flu? — their play has been markedly better on the road (18-8-2) than at home (13-9-5) this season.

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