The Flyers were minus six regulars from their lineup Thursday night, and it added up to an insurmountable problem.
Little offense. No depth. No power-play cohesion.
And no victory in their first game in 11 nights because of COVID-19 protocols.
But they showed grit and at least salvaged a point thanks to Joel Farabee’s goal late in regulation.
The New York Rangers won it, 3-2, as Artemi Panarin scored the winner in the shootout, enabling the Blueshirts to end a four-game losing streak.
Now the Flyers must face powerful Boston in an outdoor game Sunday at Lake Tahoe that probably won’t be as picturesque as the scenery.
» READ MORE: The start time of Sunday's game has moved to 2 p.m.
The Flyers sent it into overtime on Farabee’s seventh goal of the season, a rebound, with 1:14 left in regulation. Carter Hart had been pulled for an extra skater.
“I don’t think we’re satisfied to get a point, but I really liked the effort,” Farabee said. “Good effort overall, but we have to get to the net a little more.”
“We tried to play a simple north-south game,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “We got a point and lost in the skill competition. We battled hard tonight. Five-on-five, I think our game was the way it had to be to give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Rangers had taken a 2-1 lead with 11:39 left in the third period when defenseman Brendan Smith took a great feed from Panarin and knocked the puck into an empty net. Poor rebound control by Hart sent the puck to Panarin, who then found Smith in front of the net.
Other than that one misplay, Hart was outstanding.
“Carter did what a good goaltender has to do and … gave us a chance,” Vigneault said.
The Rangers (5-7-3) had a 33-22 shots advantage.
“We’re not getting enough shots on net,” said Vigneault, whose team had 27 shots blocked. “I’m very confident we can be better at getting shots through and creating scrambles in front and creating the second and third opportunities you need to score some goals.”
The Flyers’ power play was 0-for-5 and is 2-for-23 over the last seven games.
The Rangers tied it at 1-1 with 16:36 left in the second period, taking advantage of Kevin Hayes’ tripping penalty and scoring on Colin Blackwell’s deft deflection of Pavel Buchnevich’s drive.
The Flyers (8-3-3) controlled the first half of the opening period, but the Rangers then had a territorial advantage for a good chunk of the next 30 minutes.
New York nearly took a 2-1 lead, but Hart made a glove save to deny Buchnevich on a breakaway with 3:19 left in the second. Buchnevich was slashed from behind by Ivan Provorov and generously awarded a penalty shot. Hart stopped that one, too, keeping the game tied at 1-all.
The Flyers were missing six regulars who are on the league’s COVID protocol list: Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Travis Konecny, and defenseman Justin Braun. Five of the players are forwards, and four are among the team’s top seven point producers.
With that as a backdrop, the Flyers had to dig into their taxi squad. David Kase, Maksim Sushko (NHL debut), Andy Andreoff, Samuel Morin, and Connor Bunnaman, who is usually an extra player, were the forwards who entered the patchwork lineup.
Vigneault liked what he saw from the additions and veterans at practice this week.
“There are a lot of guys who have wanted more minutes, bigger roles, and they’re going to get that and hopefully they can help us win the game,” Vigneault said before the opening faceoff, adding he was impressed with the energy the team had displayed in practices.
One of the players who was moved up in the lineup was feisty right winger Nic Aube-Kubel, who went from the fourth to second line, delivered four hits, and gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 59 seconds into the game.
After Michael Raffl hit the post and a mad scramble ensued, Aube-Kubel knocked in the rebound for his second goal of the season.
“We practiced hard and we were ready to play,” said Aube-Kubel, who was on a unit centered by Hayes. “ … It’s good to have a chance on the second line.”
The Rangers had an 11-6 shots edge in the first period, but Hart stood tall — and was fortunate when Panarin’s one-time blast caromed off iron, where the left post and crossbar meet, with 50 seconds left in the first and the Rangers on a four-on-three power play.
Panarin, who missed the previous two games with an undisclosed injury, had eight shot attempts (three on goal) in the opening period.
The Flyers will travel to Nevada on Friday and get ready for Sunday’s made-for-TV outdoor game against Boston. The game will be played on a golf course at a Lake Tahoe resort, and the starting time has been moved from 3 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Kase’s brother, Ondrej, is on Boston’s roster, but he will miss the game with an injury. He hasn’t played since the Bruins’ second game.