Philadelphia Flyers

A Week After 9-0 Debacle and Day After GM's Address, Flyers Blasted by Rangers Again

A week after the 9-0 debacle in New York and a day after general manager Chuck Fletcher discussed his team's March swoon, the Flyers were blasted by the Rangers again, 8-3.

A week after 9-0 debacle and day after GM's address, Flyers blasted by Rangers again originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

On Wednesday, amid the Flyers' March swoon, general manager Chuck Fletcher held his annual midseason press conference and answered questions for 22½ minutes.

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The next day, the Flyers provided no answers in 60 minutes. Unlike their 9-0 loss to the Rangers a week ago in New York, the Flyers at least made a peep Thursday night. They won't write home about it. The Flyers were rolled by the Rangers again, this time an 8-3 decision at the Wells Fargo Center.

Not 9-0, but in the grand scheme, just as bad and just as concerning.

The Flyers (15-13-4) have given up six or more goals six times already through 32 games this season. They gave up six or more goals only five times in 69 games last season.

A team that was expected to take the next step toward Stanley Cup contention this season took another wobbly step back Thursday night. The month of March has been marred by steps backward for the Flyers. They're 4-9-1 this month and have yielded an NHL-most 65 goals (4.64 per game). They're allowing 3.66 on the season, the second most in hockey, and are falling further out of the playoff picture.

Via tiebreakers, the Rangers (15-13-4) have jumped the Flyers and taken over fifth place in the East Division. The Flyers are ahead of only the Devils and Sabres.

• Carter Hart's confidence looks shot. This year has to be wearing on the 22-year-old, on and off the ice. He said earlier this month that he hadn't felt like himself. His immediate NHL success sometimes makes you forget he's still early into his pro career and a young adult playing through a pandemic.

Prior to this season, Hart impressively seemed to always have an answer for pressure or hype. In 2020-21, it feels like things have snowballed, coinciding with the Flyers' glaring goal-prevention problem.

On Thursday night, Hart was pulled for the fourth time this season after giving up five goals on 11 shots. He has allowed the most goals in the NHL at 77 after surrendering only 95 in a standout sophomore year last season.

Brian Elliott gave up three goals in relief duty.

• Another first period, another multi-goal deficit for the Flyers.

They fell behind 3-0 at first intermission. The Rangers ripped of the three goals in a span of 5:35 minutes.

During March, the Flyers have been outscored 23-9 in the first period. The starts to games are becoming a nightmare for the club.

• After dropping a hat trick and six-point night on the Flyers in New York's 9-0 stomping, Mika Zibanejad scored another hatty and finished with six points again.

The Flyers have given up five hat tricks this season in 32 games. They gave up one all of last season in 69 games.

New York was up 6-0 at one point and 6-2 at second intermission. The Rangers scored a shorthanded goal at the beginning of the third period to put the final nail in the coffin.

• It's baffling why the Flyers' penalty kill has taken such a drastic step back this season. Prior to assistant coach Mike Yeo's arrival in 2019-20, the Flyers' penalty kill was second worst in the NHL over the previous five seasons at 78.4 percent. Last season, Yeo had it 11th in the league at 81.8 percent.

On Thursday night, the Flyers' PK was 2 for 5. It looks less aggressive and more packed in than last season. The team's penalty kill entered the game 25th in the league at 74.5 percent.

We keep mentioning the loss of defenseman Matt Niskanen. His absence is looking bigger by the game. Maybe the Flyers' PK is also missing role winger Tyler Pitlick, as well.

The Flyers' power play went 2 for 3 and allowed that shorthanded goal.

• Samuel Morin entered the lineup and played his natural position as a defenseman. He dropped the gloves in the third period and connected on some punches.

• The Flyers and Rangers meet again Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center (1 p.m. ET/NBCS).

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