Flyers split vital weekend with Rangers

After thoroughly dismantling the Rangers, 4-2, in Philadelphia on Saturday, the Flyers let a golden opportunity slip away to further secure the fourth seed in the playoffs, as they dropped the second half of the home-and-home with New York,  4-1, at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

The Flyers were on the penalty kill for 19 minutes in the contest and it made the difference.  New York’s 27th ranked power play scored four times, including two from Sean Avery.

Avery was a thorn in the side of the Flyers all game.  His aggressive play forced Philadelphia players to retaliate or initiate in an overly aggressive manor.  And because it was nationally televised on NBC, the referees did not miss a thing.   After the laughable diving incident from Avery and Brandon Dubinsky in Saturday’s game, the Flyers disrespected the Rangers and it showed.  Coburn received a five-minute major and 10-minute misconduct for taking a swipe at the head of Nik Antropov and Andrew Alberts received a questionable charging call when he threw his body at Avery late in the game.

“We got emotional and used it in the wrong way there,” Flyers’ coach John Stevens said. “I think (Avery’s) probation period is over and now he’s back up to his old antics and we got sucked in to be quite honest with you. We started worrying about him instead of playing the games. He draws your physical attention  and allows their skilled people to play and then we play the whole game shorthanded.”

Defenseman Randy Jones left the game in the second period and didn’t return.  The injury is reported as one of the lower body variety.  Jones missed substantial time to start the season with a torn labrum in his hip, but it is unknown whether the new injury has anything to do with that.  Stevens could not comment on the severity of the injury.

The schedule does not get much easier for the Flyers.  Next up, Philly visits the Joe Louis Arena and the 46-15-9 Detroit Redwings.  The Flyers haven’t won at the Joe since the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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