Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) hits Philadelphia Flyers right wing...

Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) hits Philadelphia Flyers right wing Garnet Hathaway (19) in front of goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) during the second period at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, April 11, 2024. Credit: Brad Penner

Of all the desperate teams the Rangers have been playing over the last couple of weeks, the Flyers on Thursday may have been the most desperate.

And the Rangers, it turned out, could not match that desperation.

Philadelphia, which had lost its last eight games (0-6-2) in falling out of a playoff spot, came into Madison Square Garden needing a win to try and get itself back into the race, and they got it, scoring two goals in the second period and one in third to surge past the Rangers, 4-1, and deal the Blueshirts their second straight loss.

Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist, Ryan Poehling had two assists, and goaltender Samuel Ersson made 24 mostly routine saves lead to the way for Philadelphia, which improved to 37-32-11 (85 points). They remain one point out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with two games remaining.

“We knew they were going to be desperate,’’ said Mika Zibanejad, who was in the lineup after having left Tuesday’s loss to the Islanders in the third period, following a collision with Islander defenseman Adam Pelech. “We didn’t match their intensity, their desperation level. And we don’t execute what we’re supposed to do… Just overall, not a good game.’’

“Tonight certainly wasn't good enough from start to finish,’’ defenseman Ryan Lindgren said. “That Islanders game, we had a lousy start, but played better in the second and third. But tonight, right from the start… (the Flyers are) a desperate team right now and it showed.’’

With Washington losing to Buffalo, and Pittsburgh beating Detroit in overtime, Pittsburgh currently holds the last wild card playoff spot. The Penguins have 86 points, with Washington, Detroit and the Flyers all one point behind.

The Rangers, meanwhile, failed to gain ground on idle Carolina in their battle for the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers (53-23-4, 110 points) lead Carolina (50-22-7, 107) by three points. The Rangers have two games remaining, Saturday afternoon against the Islanders, and Monday night against the Ottawa Senators. Carolina has three games remaining.

“We don’t have that cushion anymore,’’ captain Jacob Trouba said. “So now, the urgency’s gotta be there these last two games, and play our best hockey and get on the right foot going into the playoffs.’’

Lindgren was asked whether it is possible the Rangers, who were the first team to clinch a playoff spot more than two weeks ago, are simply now finding it hard to keep getting up for games against desperate teams like the Islanders and Flyers.

“It shouldn't be like that,’’ he said. “We're fighting for the division right now. Carolina's right on our tail, so there's no time for us to let up.’’

The Flyers, who’d lost their last game, 9-4 Tuesday, to the Canadiens in Montreal, opened the scoring with a goal from defenseman Cam York, at 4:21 of the first period. But the Rangers tied it, 1-1, on a five-on-three goal by Artemi Panarin (his 47th of the season) at 18:19 of the period.

The Flyers, though, scored twice in the second period, with Bobby Brink and Konecny getting the goals. And before the Rangers could mount a comeback in the third, Noah Cates won a battle for a loose puck along the boards, raced in down the right wing, cut in and lifted a shot over Jonathan Quick (23 saves) to make it 4-1 at 5:56 of the third.

“They were better than us tonight,’’ Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. “I don't think we made good decisions. I don't think the urgency was there to pick up the rush the way we needed to on the way back into our zone, coming into ‘D’ zone coverage.

“We wanted to perform better tonight,’’ Laviolette said. “We didn't. We have to own that, and fix it. and come back, ready to play a better brand of hockey in two days.’’

Blue shorts

Before the game, defenseman Adam Fox was presented with the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger’’ Award, given to the player who “best honors Rod’s legacy by exemplifying leadership qualities both on and off the ice, and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.’’ … Laviolette stayed with the same lineup he used Tuesday on Long Island, meaning forward Matt Rempe and defensemen Zac Jones and Chad Ruhwedel were scratched. Midway through the third period the Garden crowd chanted, “We want Rempe!’’

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