Nothing gets easier, but Flyers should look at this result as a win


On the day Carson Wentz was traded out of Philadelphia, the Flyers returned to the game ice in Philadelphia.

They played their first game in 11 days following an NHL-mandated shutdown because of COVID-19.

They did so without Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton and Justin Braun, who were all idle on the NHL's COVID protocol list.

And the Flyers found a way to earn a point in a 3-2 shootout loss Thursday night to the Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center. They'll absolutely take that point as they gear up, once again shorthanded, for some outdoor action at Lake Tahoe.

Maksim Sushko made his NHL debut and played 5:55 minutes as the Flyers (8-3-3) had five players 22 years old or younger in the lineup. Sean Couturier netted the Flyers' lone shootout tally.

The Rangers (5-7-3) snapped a four-game losing streak and blocked 27 shots. Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin scored on a pair of nasty shots in the skills competition.

• The undermanned Flyers followed head coach Alain Vigneault's strategy and were rewarded with a point.

"It's tough to say how we're going to react," Vigneault said Thursday after morning skate. "I feel real good with what I've seen so far, but we'll know come puck drop. But I would say let's keep things simple here, let's keep things high percentage."

To no surprise, Panarin was a stud with eight shots and an assist. But the Flyers kept the game in reach with a makeshift lineup that had one full practice and a morning skate together. A penalty and a bad rebound led to New York's goals.

Couturier took 28 faceoffs and helped produce the crucial play on the game-tying goal late.

All in all, a good night for the Flyers. They returned to action after a trying seven-day lockdown and took a point.

• Carter Hart was the Flyers' best chance to win this game and ended up making 31 saves on 33 shots.

He had a bad rebound on the Rangers' 2-1 goal by Brendan Smith.

Hart was big in overtime, though, and once again delivered a 30-plus-save performance.

• The Flyers got the equalizer from Joel Farabee with 1:14 left in regulation when they pulled the goalie.

After having eight goals in 52 games as a rookie, Farabee has seven goals through 14 games as a sophomore.

Considering the circumstances of being severely undermanned and playing their first game in 11 days, the Flyers had a solid and active first period.

They scored just 59 seconds into the game when Nicolas Aube-Kubel finished off a greasy goal.

The Flyers ended up going 0 for 5 on the power play in the game and didn't have more than 10 shots in any of the three periods.

The void of playmakers was felt.

• The last time the Flyers played a game without one of either Giroux or Voracek in the lineup was March 1, 2009.

Here were the head coaches and manager in Philadelphia at that time:

Flyers: John Stevens 

Eagles: Andy Reid 

Phillies: Charlie Manuel 

Sixers: Tony DiLeo

Giroux on Thursday had his ironman streak of 328 consecutive games played come to an end. Prior to his absence Thursday, Voracek had missed only four of the last 328 games.

• For Travis Sanheim, his layoff between games was longer than 10 days. Sanheim was unavailable the last time the Flyers played as he was placed on the NHL's COVID protocol list Feb. 7, when the club beat the Capitals on the road, 7-4, before being shut down two days later.

Sanheim did not test positive for the coronavirus and came off the COVID protocol list a week later.

"Unusual circumstance," Sanheim said Thursday morning. "I did travel with the team and then got the news that I was going on the protocol list so I was unavailable for that game. I ended up coming back to Philly and doing my quarantine here. I was fortunate enough to not come down with it and happy to be back in the lineup tonight."

• Morgan Frost, who was already on injured reserve with a left shoulder injury, came off the NHL's COVID protocol list Thursday night. The Flyers still have the six regulars on the list, all of whom won't travel with the team to Stateline, Nevada.

• The Flyers are headed outside Sunday when they meet the Bruins on Sunday in the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe event (2 p.m. ET/NBC).

Boston has handed the Flyers four of their six losses this season.

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