You can’t lose ‘em all, as the Flyers learned Thursday. Even to the hated Rangers, the team who has been their Daddy the past couple of years, to quote Pedro Martinez.
But it wasn’t till the clock mercifully ticked to zero — after they kept icing the puck in the last two minutes, forcing Claude Giroux to win a succession of faceoffs — that their 2-1 victory was secured. That came after they were forced to kill off two harrowing minutes of a 5-on-3 disadvantage.
Ilya Bryzgalov and the rest stood tall, however, as the Flyers rode goals 4:01 into the second period apart from Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek to gain those two precious points.
“We beat a great team tonight,” said Bryzgalov, who stopped all but Taylor Pyatt’s early third period power play goal among the 1-3 Rangers’ 19 shots. “Most important we played great hockey. If we continue to play like that we should get lots of wins.’’
Probably none will come tougher than this first one.
“Nobody did’nt want to be in the position we were in,’’ said Laviolette, as the Flyers avoided their first 0-4 start in franchise history, while snapping an eight-game losing streak vs. the Rangers stretching back to February 2011. “I said yesterday the only way we’re going to get out of it is if we go to work and try to fix things and continue to work and chip away. I thought our team played a very strong game. That penalty kill was a big part of it.’’
The timing couldn’t have been better.
“We needed a game like that.’’ said center Max Talbot, their best penalty killer. “The power play, PK, and special teams haven’t been as good as we wanted them to be. So I think that it’s great for our confidence to kill that five on three and to get goals on the power play as well. It was probably our best game of the year. I know last year, we had some trouble beating the Rangers. So getting a game like this, a defensive minded game, is huge.’’
Now they’ll try to build on it this weekend in Florida, facing the Panthers and Lightning, respectively.
“It’s been a while since we’ve gotten some bounces,’’ said Voracek, who batted Sean Couturier’s shot off the post past Henrik Lundqvist after Niklas Grossmann’s shot caromed off Simmonds’ skate into the net. “But we were solid when we needed to be.”