There were two ways that Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils was viewed by the Flyers in the locker room.
Coach Peter Laviolette talked about how he was happy the team played hard in scoring four third period goals after trailing 6-0.
Yet he made it clear that the end result was bitterly disappointing.
“They went out, they played well and they gave it their best,” Laviolette said about the third period. “We came up short and we're leaving here with a loss so I guess that's how we'll look at it."
Earlier this season the Flyers suffered a 6-0 Saturday matinee loss at home to the Boston Bruins. In that game they showed no fight.
Had the Flyers had a similar effort against the Devils, then going in against the Rangers would have been more difficult than the task at hand, which is pretty difficult in its own right.
The Flyers feel at least it will be good that they won’t have long to stew over this defeat.
“I think if you get embarrassed at home the best thing to do is get back in the saddle again and go after an opponent that’s waiting for you, that’s hungry, that’s kind of owned you, like you said, three times earlier this year,” Scott Hartnell said. “So, in Madison Square Garden, we’ve got to come out fired up like we did in that third period and just continue that momentum that we gained in that last twenty minutes.”
Easier said than done.
The Flyers are 0-3 against the Rangers and 0-2 at MSG, having been outscored 6-2 during those games in New York.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Rangers took a 3-2 victory on Jan. 2 during the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.
That game seems so long ago. Remember, a slumping Ilya Bryzgalov was benched?
Now he is playing much better. On Saturday Bryzgalov didn’t allow a goal and made a few nice glove saves in relief of Sergei Bobrovsky.
In his two starts since the all-star break, Bryzgalov has been involved in a 2-1 shootout loss to Winnipeg and a 4-1 win over Nashville.
After Saturday’s performance from Bobrovsky, Bryzgalov likely won’t be looking over his shoulder for a while.
The Flyers need a game where Bryzgalov stands on his head, figuratively of course.
And they must come out with the urgency that was missing for the first 40 minutes against the Devils.
The Rangers lead the Flyers by three points with two games in hand.
With 31 games left, this may not be a must-win situation for the Flyers, but it’s awfully close, not only from a standings-purpose, but for their confidence.
After this there will only be two more meetings with the Rangers.
“We can’t let these points pass away against the Rangers,” Claude Giroux said.
In short, the urgency that the Flyers showed the final 20 minutes, but be displayed for the entire 60 for them to have a chance against the Rangers.