The Philadelphia Flyers, fighting through most of March, knew they already had an uphill battle to regain their early-season form and get back to playoff position.
The hill looks even bigger now.
The New York Rangers, inconsistent for most of the season, woke up in a big way Wednesday night, defeating the Flyers 9-0 at Madison Square Garden, humiliating an opponent and their former coach, Alain Vigneault.
“He couldn’t defend and he couldn’t make a play,” Vigneault said. “I’m really embarrassed.”
The Flyers essentially watched Mika Zibanejad tie an NHL record with six points, including three goals, in one period, as the Rangers reached their largest margin of victory since 1986. And they did so without his full-time coaching staff behind the bench. . due to COVID-19 protocols.
“It’s embarrassing to be playing on that ice tonight, the way we play. We don’t help our goalies at all,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “I mean, there aren’t many words to say. We know we have to wake up and the good thing is that we have a game. [Thursday]. So, we have to answer [then]. “
Brian Elliott allowed five goals on 13 shots, and Carter Hart allowed four more on 16 shots, while the Rangers scored seven in the second period alone.
“Obviously we talked about it a bit after the game, but everyone knows it is not acceptable,” Giroux said, “and there must be an answer.”
On Thursday, the Flyers will face the New York Islanders.
“There is no question that we were not well tonight,” Vigneault said. “We’ll get to Long Island here and get ready.”
Philadelphia has just six points from its nine games played this month. And the team that won three of four to open the season, and had a four-game winning streak in January, is now three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the East Division.