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Rangers vs Flyers: Costly penalties sink the Rangers

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Smith and Panarin score the Rangers but two power-play goals by Philly prove to be the story of the game in Zac Jones’ NHL debut

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Rangers lost to the Flyers by a score of 3-2 as a result of some costly penalties. Zac Jones, who made his NHL debut, finished the game with 9:45 TOI — including 1:22 on the man advantage, three shots on goal, a hit, two blocks, two giveaways, and one takeaway. Libor Hajek, for those who are curious, clocked in at 12:19 and Adam Fox skated 28:04. Yes, 28:04.

Shesterkin was great, which was encouraging to see after the Rangers’ loss to the Islanders, but the Rangers had puck management issues and gave the Flyers too many opportunities on the power play.

First

The Rangers had a strong first period wherein they controlled about 68 percent of the 5v5 shot share and 78 percent of the xG share. They eventually were rewarded by a goal from an unlikely source.

Brendan Smith opened the scoring 9:55 into the opening period at even strength when he ripped a shot from the point set up by K’Andre Miller and Filip Chytil. Chytil really made the play happen with a zone entry up the wing on an expiring power play. It was Smith’s fourth goal of the season.

The Rangers ended the first with a 14-11 edge in shots.

Second

They don’t ask how, they ask how many... but we do tend to remember the goals that are scored off of someone’s face. And that is how the Flyers tied this game up.

Adam Fox was called for high-sticking on Jakub Voracek at 15:43 and on the subsequent power play a shot from Travis Konecny deflected off of a Rangers stick, off of James van Riemsdyk's face, and past Igor Shesterkin. It was JVR’s first goal of the game and 15th of the season. Konecny and Ivan Provorov earned the helpers on the tying goal.

Before the period was over, the fans at the Garden were treated to a special moment in young Igor Shesterkin’s career. Libor Hajek was burned badly by Joel Farabee, which brought on a penalty shot — the first of Shesterkin’s career. And he absolutely stoned Farabee to keep it a 1-1 game just before the close of the second period.

Third

K’Andre Miller earned a double minor for a high-stick on Sean Couturier that many, including Steve Valiquette, thought was a bad call. Unfortunately for the Rangers, that penalty proved costly.

JVR scored on a deflection from a point shot by Provorov to give the Flyers their first lead of the game 10:29 into the third period. Former Ranger Kevin Hayes picked up the secondary assist on the Flyers’ second power-play tally of the game. You can’t blame Shesterkin for this one. A deflection on the power-play simply isn’t one you hang on your goalie.

Voracek scored an even-strength goal for the Flyers on a two-one-one less than four minutes later to give Philadelphia a 3-1 lead. Voracek’s wrister beat Shesterkin’s glove with captain Claude Giroux driving to the net. Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere picked up the assists on the go-ahead goal. The Flyers had the rush opportunity because of a bad pinch by Hajek.

Just when the game started to feel like it was out of reach, Artemiy Panarin delivered. Again.

The Rangers capitalized on an offensive zone faceoff win, with the goalie pulled, to make it a one-goal game with just 120 seconds left in the period. Mika Zibanejad won the draw to Adam Fox who moved it to Panarin who then pulled the trigger on the set play to beat Brian Elliott.

Unfortunately, Panarin’s rip was simply too little, too late. The Rangers fell 3-2 and special teams and miscues by the defense, ultimately, proved to be the difference.