Despite the return of captain Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov from the COVID-19 list, the result was the same for the Philadelphia Flyers: another loss.
The Flyers did play well in stretches but ultimately fell 3-2 on the road against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
Philadelphia will now look to snap a six-game losing streak when it hosts the New York Rangers on Saturday. The Flyers haven’t won since a 3-2 overtime victory Dec. 29 at Seattle.
“We know they’ve played a lot of hockey as of late and we did the exact opposite of what our game plan told us to do,” Cam Atkinson said of quickly falling behind 2-0. “We got back to it second and third (periods). You saw that we started playing better and guys wanted the puck a little bit more. But yeah, just a slow start for us.”
Goaltender Carter Hart made 33 saves, including several stellar ones, to keep the Flyers close. In the end, this moral victory wasn’t enough.
“He keeps us in every single game,” Atkinson said. “We need to be a little harder in our blue in front of him and just help him out a little more.”
Penalties turned out to be costly as one of David Pastrnak’s three goals came on a 5-on-3 advantage. During this latest skid, penalties have haunted the Flyers.
“I think that you look at a number of our games lately and we have spurts here and there,” Philadelphia interim head coach Mike Yeo said. “We aren’t capable of sustaining momentum, sustaining play. Even when things aren’t going necessarily outstanding, you can’t let things go really bad.”
The Rangers will look to keep their positive momentum going after coming off an impressive 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Goaltender Igor Shesterkin stopped 37 shots in his first game since returning from the COVID list. Braden Schneider also scored a goal in his first career game.
“A lot of the credit has to go to Shesterkin,” Rangers acting head coach Kris Knoblauch said. “There were a lot of Grade A scoring chances and he came up with some big saves.”
Schneider, 20, was the 19th overall pick in the 2020 draft.
“I was in the right place at the right time and I couldn’t have drawn it up any better myself,” Schneider said. “The whole day, I was quite jittery, I couldn’t sit still, my nap wasn’t too great. I came to the rink, it was the same thing with nerves.
“When I got on the ice for warmup, it became a little more real and I don’t think it hit me until my first shift and then after that, I felt like I settled in and got a little more confident as the game went on,” he added.
Like virtually every other team, the Rangers have had to shuffle lines as players have come and gone from the COVID list. This was arguably their best performance of the season.
“I mean at this point, you just have to roll with the punches,” Chris Kreider said. “It’s happening to most teams in the league and it’s almost a running joke at this point as who is coming out of the lineup for the next game.”