The New York Rangers were right back in action tonight with their second preseason game, but were defeated 5-3 by the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia. The Rangers iced a relatively young lineup tonight with a few exceptions such as Kevin Klein, Jarret Stoll, and Viktor Stalberg just to name a few. Given that Alain Vigneault is expected to make some roster cuts at some point tomorrow, some players had one final chance to make some noise before being sent back to juniors.
Unlike last night, the Rangers got off to a pretty slow start, and were outshot 9-5 by the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening 20 minutes. After being hemmed in their own zone early on, the Flyers were able to take advantage and they took a 1-0 lead just 8:43 into regulation. Yevgeni Medvedev, who spent his entire career over in Russia, got the Flyers on the board with a booming slapshot from the point.
Magnus Hellberg was unable to locate the puck through a slew out bodies at the top of his crease, and the puck sailed over his shoulder. Following the goal, there wasn't a whole lot generated by either team, and we went into the second period with the Flyers leading 1-0. Much like the first period, a slow start wound up hurting the Rangers again and the Flyers took full advantage.
Raphael Diaz, who had a very poor outing tonight, was whistled down for a holding penalty just 3:43 into the second period, and put the Flyers on their third power play. Not long after the faceoff, Brayden Schenn created some space for himself around the left faceoff dot, snapped a hard wrist shot under the bar and gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead early in the second period.
A few minutes after Schenn's tally, the Rangers finally got themselves going as Oscar Lindberg brought the Rangers back within a goal. Richard Nejezchleb started the entire play with a nifty tap pass while entering the zone, and found Lindberg cutting down the middle all alone. The Flyers were caught on a partial line change, and Lindberg was able to beat Steven Mason with a hard wrist shot just over the right pad.
About a minute later, the Rangers pulled back even as Viktor Stalberg came into the zone with plenty of speed and found Matt Bodie on the backdoor for the easy tap in. Something that went unnoticed on the goal was the excellent defensive play from Lindberg to win a board battle, and started the breakout by feeding Stalberg while he was in stride.
Despite the slow start, the Rangers were able to get back in the game, but unfortunately, that would only last 1:20. Wayne Simmonds was able to work over Emerson Etem in the behind the net, and he found Sam Gagner wide open in front for a slam dunk to make it 3-2 Flyers. That goal wound up holding firm until the third period, where the Rangers would surrender two more goals.
The first goal came 2:11 into the third period as the Flyers converted on a nifty passing play, and Wayne Simmonds found Shayne Gostisbehere cutting in on the backdoor. Gostisbehere made no mistake and absolutely wired a one timer under the crossbar to make it 4-2 Flyers. With a little under four minutes remaining in regulation, Gostisbehere notched his second goal of the game on a long point shot through traffic, and the Flyers took a commanding 5-2 lead.
The Rangers tallied one final goal in the closing minutes as Mat Bodie came away with his second goal as well, and cut the Flyers lead to 5-3. The final horn sounded with the Flyers winning 5-3, but there was another special treat in store as the NHL was experimenting with their new 3-on-3 overtime format. While it was entertaining, neither team was able to come away with a goal in extra time, and the Rangers will look forward to their third preseason game on Thursday night against the Boston Bruins.
Stay tuned for the cuts, which are expected at some point tomorrow afternoon.