Flyers beat Rangers in OT despite a very uneven effort

The Flyers and Rangers engaged in a game of extremes on Monday night. Ultimately, the Flyers started and finished well enough to beat the Rangers 5-4 in overtime.

Flyers – Rangers: a game of big swings, some Panarin-powered

During the first period, it seemed like the Flyers got off to a strong start vs. the Rangers. With goals about a minute-and-a-half apart, James van Riemsdyk and Ivan Provorov made it 2-0. That’s how it stayed during the opening 20 minutes.

After that first, the second period told a very different story. If the Rangers were groggy through the first few minutes of Monday’s contest, than the Flyers passed out during the second. The Rangers kept the Flyers without a shot on goal through the first half of the middle period, and Artemi Panarin put on a show.

Following Panarin’s return (an assist in a win against the Bruins), he truly showed why he’s so special in this one. Panarin collected a goal and two assists during a flurry of offense in the second period, and created other chances that could have produced more.

(Considering his path to the NHL, there are times when Artemi Panarin still surprises.)

More twists and turns after two

The back-and-forth shifts continued in the third period, and into overtime.

Following a putrid second-period performance, the Flyers woke up against the Rangers. Maybe they regained some confidence from answering a three-goal run from the Rangers with a power-play goal late in the second?

Special teams ended up being a difference-maker for the Flyers (two PPG, held Rangers to 0-for-5 on their opportunities), and could have been an even bigger one if the Rangers didn’t succeed in challenging a would-be go-ahead power-play goal from Kevin Hayes.

Instead, the goal didn’t count, and Flyers – Rangers went to overtime.

Flyers won vs. Rangers, but need to be more consistent

On Monday, Philadelphia showed some of what makes the Flyers a team people expect more from. Even amid another bumpy start, Carter Hart still made a save like this.

Despite Panarin threatening to score in OT, the Flyers eventually won after Jakub Voracek took advantage of a ton of time to end it. It wasn’t pretty, yet Philly salvaged a key win.

But it must be maddening to see such uneven efforts. The Flyers came into Monday having lost four of five and five of their last seven games. Now they’ve won three of their last eight. Yet, even then, two of those victories required play to go beyond regulation.

At 14-9-3, the Flyers have a shot (certainly a better shot than the Rangers, now 11-12-4). If they want to make the playoffs — and be buyers at the trade deadline — they’ll need to offer up more complete efforts than what they presented on Monday.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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