Despite relinquishing a 3-0 lead in the third period, the Flyers earned a 4-3 shootout win Sunday night over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Kevin Hayes posted the lone score in the skills competition as the Flyers survived New York’s furious comeback attempt.
Cam York, Owen Tippett and Joel Farabee scored for the Flyers (22-36-11), which snapped a four-game losing streak.
Mike Yeo’s club, who struggled a lot on the road (9-20-5), won in a tough building on the second night of a straight set. The move marked the Flyers’ first shootout victory of the season.
The Flyers are 1-2-0 against the Rangers (44-20-6) this season. The two teams meet once again with a game at the Wells Fargo Center in 10 days.
• Against his former club, at his former home, Hayes was a great player.
Along with the shootout winner, the 29-year-old center finished with one assist, four shots and won eight of 12 faceoffs in 19:55 minutes.
Hayes has been a point-per-game player since returning from an infection in the groin area, registering five goals and 10 assists in 15 games after joining the roster on March 5.
With Claude Giroux at the Panthers and Sean Couturier and Scott Laughton out, Hayes has been front and center for the Flyers.
He has been a major asset to a team that desperately needs him.
More: As Yandle thinks of his teammates, Hayes feels for him with streak ending
• The Flyers almost let the evening slip away, but this Rangers side would push.
What New York did to the Flyers is what it’s done to many teams.
The Rangers are a third period terror, entering the game with a plus-28 goal differential in the final stanza. They came very close to improving their best NHL win total to 25.
After Artemi Panarin cut the Flyers’ lead to 3-1, Mika Zibanejad and Andrew Copp erased it in 12 seconds with less than five minutes left in regulation time.
• Substitute Martin Jones, who was in goal when the Flyers last won on March 24, was a terrific save with 43.
Zibanejad, Panarin and Filip Chytil couldn’t beat him in the shootout.
New York goaltender Igor Shesterkin entered with a 2.13 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. The 26-year-old dropped to 32-10-4, allowing three goals on 26 Flyers shots.
Despite a passable run lately, Shesterkin is still the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy.
Impressively, two of York’s three career goals have come against Shesterkin, both in 2022.
• Age of Flyers scorers on Sunday night:
- York – 21 years old
- Tippett – 23 years old
- Farabee – 22 years old
The Flyers hope it’s a glimpse of a youth movement heading into next season.
• The 2021-22 Flyers hit the 69-game mark on Sunday night at 22-36-11.
Why is it worth noting?
The Flyers went 41-21-7 in 2019-20, when their regular season was cut short after 69 games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s still incredibly hard to believe how quickly and ugly things turned out so badly after such a promising first year in the Alain Vigneault era.
• Justin Braun’s second game for Rangers came against his former club.
The 35-year-old defender fell victim to the selling Flyers’ trade deadline two weeks ago.
Braun has seen its share of healthy stripes so far among a deep blue New York line.
Against his former comrades, Braun only played 11:24 minutes.
• After coming out of the Flyers’ 6-3 loss early in the third period on Saturday with an apparent injury, Nick Seeler was out against New York. Kevin Connauton took his place in the lineup alongside prospect Ronnie Attard.
As forward, Hayden Hodgson returned to the roster in place of Zack MacEwen. Yeo told the Philadelphia Inquirer Giana Han and Olivia Reiner before the game that MacEwen hurt himself after his third period fight against Wayne Simmonds in Saturday’s loss to the Maple Leafs.
Laughton, who Yeo said is “looking forward” to playing after being cleared while recovering from a concussion, did not face Rangers. The Flyers are likely playing it safe with Laughton, who could very well be a candidate to return on Tuesday.
• The Flyers sit out Monday before hosting the Blue Jackets on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).
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