‘I think we've taken a huge step' — Flyers lose wild one in OT as race tightens

‘I think we've taken a huge step' — Flyers lose wild one in OT as race tightens originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

NEW YORK — The Flyers couldn't nail down a 2-0 lead and suffered a whacky, stomach-turning, 6-5 overtime loss Tuesday night to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

John Tortorella's club didn't quit, rallying three times in the third period to force OT.

New York erased the 2-0 deficit and grabbed its first lead 2:57 minutes into the final stanza. Travis Konecny, Owen Tippett and Tyson Foerster all drew the Flyers even throughout the third period.

But New York never let the Flyers go back ahead. Adam Fox scored the winner 36 seconds into the bonus session.

"I just loved how we battled back," Flyers associate coach Brad Shaw said. "It was quite a roller coaster, up and down, highs and lows, but the fact that we kept scratching and clawing to get back into that game and get a point — it's an awesome point, it's an awesome effort by everybody."

Prior to the third-period chaos, Scott Laughton drove the Flyers' bus in the second period. He opened the game's scoring and then assisted Ryan Poehling's power play goal 8:41 minutes later to pad the Flyers' lead to 2-0. The 29-year-old alternate captain has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in the last 21 games.

But the Rangers, hungry to punch their playoff ticket, erupted for six goals over the final 35-plus minutes of the action.

"We need to pick up some points here," Laughton said. "We get one, but I thought we were in control of it and should've gotten two."

The Flyers (36-27-10) went 2-3-2 in this daunting seven-game stretch against bona-fide contenders. They'll take it.

"We're not in the realm of some of the top teams we're playing and that's certainly not criticizing our team," Tortorella said before morning skate. "We're not there yet, we're not close. But to have them compete in these type of situations and see how they react, these are questions that we're going to have to answer as we keep on going into next year, the following year, as we keep on building here.

"For us to put ourselves in this situation and be playing these games this time of year, it's really important for the management and the coaches and the whole organization to see what this is all about. And I think our guys have handled themselves really well."

The Flyers are 0-2-1 against the first-place Rangers (48-20-4) and have one more meeting with them April 11 back at Madison Square Garden.

New York leads the NHL with 100 points and became the first team to clinch a postseason berth.

Since 2021-22, the Flyers have lost nine of their last 10 meetings with the Rangers (1-6-3) and been outscored 35-18.

"We know what they've done as an organization the last few years, they've got a real good hockey team here," Shaw said. "I thought we played a heck of a hockey game, to stay with it, to not fold our tent. We had plenty of opportunities to do that. I loved how we kept our resilience and our tenacity and found a way to get a point out of that game."

• With the point, the Flyers are still clinging to third place in the Metropolitan Division, a spot they've held since Jan. 24.

"I think we've played some of our best hockey of the year, especially the last three, four games," Shaw said. "Great team efforts. I think we've taken a huge step as a group. Hopefully we can get the job done through the remaining games."

The Flyers are one point up on the Capitals, who beat the Red Wings, 4-3, in overtime. The Flyers entered Tuesday with a 75.1 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to's probabilities report.

Washington, which has two games in hand on the Flyers, holds the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot by two points over Detroit. The Flyers could be battling the Red Wings, as well, if the Capitals jump them in the division race.

The Flyers, who have nine games left, host the Capitals on April 16 in the regular-season finale for each team.

"We've got a confident group," Tippett said, "We just have to continue to work away here."

Samuel Ersson, starting at Madison Square Garden for the first time in his NHL career, couldn't fend off New York.

The 24-year-old rookie was ambushed by the Rangers in the third period, giving up four goals. The Flyers could've helped him more, too. He finished with 21 saves.

"I think for me, it was a pretty weird period," Ersson said. "I know I've got to come up with a couple of saves. I felt like the times they had the shots, they went in. I didn't really get to feel the puck that much in the third, so it's one of those things I've got to find a way to handle it better mentally and come up with those saves when the team needs it."

Only 1:23 minutes into the third period, New York tied the game at 2-2 with a goal from Jonny Brodzinski.

About a minute and a half later, Alexis Lafreniere handed the Rangers their first lead.

Tortorella called a timeout after New York's go-ahead goal and it worked briefly. Konecny responded but then the Flyers' power play allowed a shorthanded goal to Vincent Trocheck.

After Tippett tied things up, Lafreniere struck again.

Foerster pushed the game to OT with 3:31 minutes left.

Mika Zibanejad, a Flyers killer, ripped a power play goal in the second period to trim the Flyers' advantage to 2-1. Foerster, who also drew two penalties, was whistled for high-sticking in the neutral zone.

Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin stopped 36 of the Flyers' 41 shots.

Laughton beat the 2021-22 Vezina Trophy winner with a laser 2:58 minutes into the second period. Konecny found Laughton speeding down the wing.

Poehling's goal was his first on the power play this season. He has three at shorthanded and six at even strength.

Nick Seeler and Jamie Drysdale, both recovering from injuries, took part in the Flyers' morning skate. More on the defensemen here.

• The Flyers head to Montreal for a matchup Thursday with the Canadiens (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts: 
Apple Podcasts | Youtube Music | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | RSSWatch on YouTube