Rangers make it two straight with 2-1 win at Philly
|Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, making his ninth straight start, swats away an errant puck on Saturday afternoon at Philadelphia. Lundqvist turned in a tremendous performance for the visitors with 36 saves, including 16 in the third period.
• MORE PHOTOS
|RANGERS ON DEMAND
|Tortorella Postgame Remarks to Reporters
|Postgame Analysis by MSG's Ron Duguay
|EXCLUSIVE VIDEO ON MSG.com
|Check Out More Rangers Postgame Video
• PHOTO GALLERY
• RANGERS GAME CENTER
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
A blizzard might have kept most fans from making it to the Wachovia Center on Saturday afternoon, but the Rangers had no problems showing up. The Blueshirts won their second straight game, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 behind the sensational play of Henrik Lundqvist
Making his ninth consecutive start -- and 16th in the last 17 games -- Lundqvist turned in another brilliant performance in goal for the Rangers. Lundqvist stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced.
“The thing I like about Henrik is that I think he understands where we’re at as a hockey club right now and the things that are going on around him, and I think he’s trying to be a leader,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “He has certainly stepped up and made some huge saves at key times for us these last couple of games.”
The Rangers, who beat the Islanders 5-2 on Thursday, have won back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 23-25.
“We really wanted to build off that win the other night,” said Lundqvist. “I think we played really good (Saturday). We had lots of speed and energy. In the third (the Flyers) were all over the place, but we kept our cool and got the win.”
When the Flyers pressed in trying to rally back from a 2-1 deficit during the third period, Lundqvist was at his best. Using his pads, stick, blocker, body, and even his mask, Lundqvist stoically made one important save after another. And none were better than when he dove across his crease at the 8:03 mark to rob a wide-open James van Riemsdyk after making two other saves earlier in the same sequence.
Lundqvist stopped all 16 Flyers shots in the final period of play.
“It was a good win,” said alternate captain Ryan Callahan
, who picked up an assist. “I thought we came out hard, competed, and then showed some character there at the end in the third by not letting them score. Once again Hank was the main focus.”
Defenseman Marc Staal
put forth a phenomenal effort for the Rangers excelling in every important situation. Over 30:45 worth of ice-time, Staal played a major role in keeping top Flyers Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Danny Briere, and Simon Gagne off the scoreboard.
“I think we were pretty solid,” said Staal. “Our work ethic and care has been a lot higher. Our forechecking is better, and we’re getting in on their D playing more in their zone. We played hard and got the win.”
Fellow Rangers’ defensemen Michal Rozsival
, Dan Girardi
, and Michael Del Zotto
also had strong games, with Rozsival second on the team with more than 25 minutes of ice-time.
The Rangers secured their second one-goal lead of the night when Artem Anisimov
was credited with his seventh goal of the season, and second in as many games, at 4:46 of the second period. And that lead would hold up for the rest of the afternoon.
Anisimov, who was extremely strong on the puck all afternoon long, shed the check of former Ranger Blair Betts behind Philly’s net, came out on right wing, and whipped a centering pass towards Callahan at the edge of the crease. Anisimov’s attempted pass ended up hitting the leg of Flyers’ defenseman Ryan Parent and deflecting past goaltender Brian Boucher to put the Rangers ahead 2-1.
had given the Rangers their first lead of the contest just 5:16 into the first period. After a strong Rangers’ forecheck caused the Flyers to scramble in their own end, Drury intercepted a pass between the circles, spun around, and blasted a shot past Boucher.
The goal was Drury’s fourth of the season, and -- like Anisimov -- his second in as many games. It also was a positive response from the team captain, who has quietly accepted Tortorella’s decision to start him on the fourth line two games in a row, including this one.
“We wanted to set the tone right away,” said Lundqvist. “We didn’t want them to feel good. I think it’s important right away to show that it’s going to be a tough night for them.”
Following Drury’s goal, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette used his timeout, and the move seemed to spark his club which was being badly outplayed by the visitors. The Rangers also helped out Philly’s cause when Enver Lisin was whistled for boarding Chris Pronger at the 7:45 mark of the first.
The Flyers took advantage immediately when Pronger drove a right-wing shot through a screen, beating Lundqvist to the short side, to tie the game 1-1 at 8:13. And the Rangers handed Philly two more power plays before the period was over, but a strong penalty kill by New York not only kept the Flyers off of the scoreboard, but held them without a shot on either man advantage opportunity, as well.
“We wanted to stay out of the box, but unfortunately we got into some penalty trouble,” said Callahan. “But our PK has been good all year and it had another good game.”
Testing their good fortune, the Rangers took another penalty early in the second -- this one by Vinny Prospal
-- but again an excellent penalty kill, led by the superior play of Drury, made sure the game remained tied.
Lundqvist also did his part, in particular when he flashed out his right pad to stone Claude Giroux’s blast off a 4-on-2 rush 7:45 into the middle stanza.
And after giving up Anisimov’s go-ahead goal, Boucher made several big saves, as well. Less than a minute after Anisimov scored, Boucher was just able to get the tip of his glove on Prospal’s right-wing blast, deflecting the puck off the top of the crossbar and out of harm’s way. With five minutes left in the period, Boucher fought through a screen in front to make a strong pad save on Rozsival’s power play shot.
In the third period, Boucher faced only five shots, and spent much of the period watching Lundqvist’s spectacular play at the other end of the ice.
Snowed in at Philadelphia, the Rangers will be forced to travel to Raleigh on Sunday for their match against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night. They will be seeking a third straight victory for the first time since skating to a seven-game win streak in mid-October.
|Three star selections