Well for those of you who saw my prediction last night it looks like I was dead on. For those of you that didn't I said, "I am confident that a much different team will show up to take on the blue shirts. Mark my words." A much different Flyers team showed up on Sunday. I just didn't think it would be a worse one.
The Rangers have been on a four game home losing streak. In order to change the mentality they went with the road whites for the game Sunday. It looks like it paid off. Ryan Callahan netted 4 goals and Lundqvist stopped all the shots he faced as the Rangers blanked the Flyers 7-0.
The first period for the Flyers started very shakily and the Rangers capitalized. After a strong shift by the Anisimov, Dubinsky, Callahan line they cashed in. Dubinsky outworked Coburn and completely turned around Boucher as he slid the puck to Callahan. Easy tap in, 1-0 Rangers.
The Flyers getting outworked would, unfortunately, be the theme of todays game.
The Rangers second goal came at 12:58 of the first. Callahan took the puck almost at the goal line. Boucher, expecting pass, went down very quickly. Callahan ripped a wrister upsatairs making it 2-0 Rangers.
Cue the Flyers 82-0 commercial. Not exactly the best time.
The Flyers had a few chances midway through the first but failed to capitalize. The Rangers continued to outwork the Flyers in the remaining minutes and Madison Square Garden erupted when the horn sounded ending the period. They had not only outshot the Flyers 14-7, but they had severely outworked them as well.
The second stanza began exactly like the first. It showcased the Flyers being outworked badly. The Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov line looked like world beaters today.
Mike Richards, the Flyers captain, tried to show some leadership. He started bringing the physical play. Richards and Dubinsky, who absolutely LOVE each other (sarcasm at it's finest), ended up in a scrap. Instead of taking the hint the Flyers continued to be outworked.
At 5:06 of the second Mats Zuccarello beat Boucher, Leighton style, through the 5 hole. Only seconds earlier Ville Leino had turned over the puck during a 4 on 2. The Rangers roared back the other way and finished their 3 on 1 in red light fashion.
Just over a minute later the first star of the game, Ryan Callahan, would complete his hat-trick. After an egregious turn over by Kris Versteeg that left Callahan wide open in front, the Rangers winger ripped another wrist shot past Boucher. That would spell the end of the line for Brian. Laviolette pulled him and brought in rookie Sergei Bobrovsky.
With 8:13 left in the second period the Flyers had officially given up. I wrote the specific time down when I noticed it. They were on the power play and Chris Pronger lollygagged back to get a puck. Instead of showing resilliency they showed their true colors. I was so disgusted I wanted to turn the game off. Unfortunately my journalistic obligations wouldn't allow me to do so.
The third period featured 3 goals by the Rangers. First Callahan netted his fourth of the afternoon. Second, Artem Ansimov walked in uncontested and deked Bobrovsky, who I thought was the only Flyer to show up. The Rangers finished the scoring with just over a minute to play when Zuccarello cashed in his second of the contest. Fittingly, after yet another Flyers turnover.
I don't really know what to say after an embarrassment like that. The Rangers fans at MSG started a "Flyers Suck" chant, and today they absolutely did.
To be outworked, outhussled, outplayed, and outclassed the way they did is completely unacceptable. Hats off to the Rangers for having the killer instinct to keep their foot on the Flyers throat. Many times when a team gets a lead they can become complacent. The Rangers did exactly the opposite.
I think everyone would agree with me when I say the Rangers put on an almost flawless performance. I would be ecstatic if the Fly guys could do that on a consistent basis. You saw the exact formula you need to win in the NHL. Heart, determination, grit, all mixed with skill and solid goaltending. It pains me to say that it was not the Flyers but, in fact, the Rangers who displayed this today.
Something needs to be done in Flyerland. Obviously Laviolette's firery words yesterday didn't motivate the boys. Matt Carle said "embarrassed and frustrated, not much more needs to be said". Well, Matt, perhaps it does. I think it is time for the players of this team to step up and say, enough is enough. A players only meeting is in order, and I suspect one will be coming Monday in Philadelphia.
The Flyers will try to put this game behind them and prepare for a youthful and energetic Edmonton team. They are playing loose and free with nothing to lose. It will be interesting to see how they fare against them on Tuesday.
Three stars of the game
1. Ryan Callahan
2. Henrik Lundqvist
3. Mats Zuccarello
This was the worst Flyers defeat in history at MSG.