PHILADELPHIA -- With a predominantly flat performance at Wells Fargo Center that seemed to resemble a preseason game, the Rangers dropped a 2-1 decision last night to the banged-up, previously winless Flyers. It was their third loss in four games.
A night after an emotional 4-3 overtime victory over the Bruins at the Garden, the Rangers managed only 13 shots on Ilya Bryzgalov in the first two periods and fell behind 2-0. The Flyers, meanwhile, had fired 28 shots at Henrik Lundqvist.
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Still, the Rangers had a chance in the third period to grab a point. But it didn't happen.
They cut their deficit to 2-1 on a power play when Marian Gaborik got his own rebound in the high slot and passed on the right side to Taylor Pyatt, who cashed in his third goal of the season at 1:39.
The turning point came next. The Rangers, who won all six games against the Flyers last season, were awarded a huge power-play opportunity when Tye McGinn was given a double-minor for high-sticking Michael Del Zotto at 9:24. It turned into a five-on-three when Nicklas Grossmann hooked Gaborik at 9:39.
"We have the skill level [on the power play], that's for sure," Del Zotto said. "We're just not moving it quick enough and not retrieving those loose pucks; we're one and done. We're not winning those pucks, not only on the power play, but five-on-five. It's as if we set up and we're stuck there.
"We need to just go with our instincts. Seems like we're leaving guys out to dry without many options."
Coach John Tortorella denied that conditioning is an issue. "No one in this league is in the shape you want them to be in," he said. "This team is in shape as far as what we started with."
He termed the power play "just too deliberate . . . we're not getting enough plays from our top guys."
The Flyers were missing forwards Brayden Schenn (suspended), Daniel Briere (wrist) and Scott Hartnell (broken foot), but Ryan Callahan was wary before the game. "They're in the same situation [winless] we were Wednesday," he said.
Afterward, Dan Girardi sounded the same theme: "They were desperate. We had to match that and we didn't. We had moments we were playing hockey and moments we were struggling. We've got to find a way to play 60 minutes or we're not going to win many games."
After a scoreless first in which Lundqvist stopped 11 shots and the sluggish Rangers had only five, the Blueshirts played some of those good minutes early in the second, Tortorella said. But Grossmann's wrister from the left point hit Brad Richards' knee and deflected off Wayne Simmonds' foot for a 1-0 lead at 11:53.
McGinn piled into a scrum in front of Lundqvist at 14:44, Kris Newbury started punching, and his roughing minor gave the Flyers a power play. They capitalized with Ryan McDonagh, Girardi, Brian Boyle and Callahan flopping in front as Simmonds jabbed at the puck, and Jacob Voracek poked it in at 15:54.
Lundqvist, who made 31 saves and was named the game's third star, summed up the mood in the postgame locker room, where very few players stuck around. "Very disappointing," he said.