Cam Talbot turned in a solid performance while making his National Hockey League debut in goal Thursday night, but it was not enough as the Rangers lost their second straight game, falling to the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 at the Wells Fargo Center. Talbot stopped 25 of 27 shots in an impressive debut while filling in for the injured Henrik Lundqvist.
The loss dropped the Rangers to 2-6-0 on the season, while the win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Flyers, who are now 2-7-0 on the season.
Shortly after the Rangers had completed an outstanding five-minute penalty kill which bridged the second and third periods---after Benoit Pouliot was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Max Talbot at the 17-minute mark of the middle stanza---the Flyers took a 2-1 lead when Braydon Coburn's slap shot through a Wayne Simmonds screen beat Talbot 3:33 into the final period of play. The goal came following a failed clearing attempt by the Rangers, and was thr second one-goal deficit faced by the visitors on the night.
It appeared that the Rangers had tied the game once again at 5:36, but a video review overruled J.T. Miller's power play goal. Brian Boyle chipped a shot towards the Flyers cage from right wing that was kicked away by goaltender Steve Mason. Miller missed the bouncing puck with his stick swipe, and the puck caromed of fhis skate into the net. The video ruling was that Miller had kicked the puck into the net, and the deficit remained 2-1 for the Rangers.
Talbot faced his first shot just ten seconds into the game, calmly turning aside a right wing shot as Vinny Lecevalier drove towards his net, and he denied each of the Flyers first four shots on goal as the teams were feeling each other out in the first half of the opening period. However faced with a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush by Philadelphia after Derick Brassard fell down at the offensive blueline, Talbot surrendered his first goal as Matt Read beat him through the pads from left wing at 9:07 of the first period. Read's first goal was an unassisted shorthanded tally, and it put the Rangers in a 1-0 hole.
Unfazed by the goal Talbot denied five more shots before the first intermission, and by that point the Rangers had tied the score on Brad Richards' fifth goal of the season with 64 seconds remaining in the opening stanza. After a strong cycle by the visitors in the offensive zone, Richards whipped a bad-angle shot from left wing that deflected off the leg of Philly defenseman Braydon Coburn and past Mason to even the score. The goal---which was assisted by John Moore and Chris Kreider, who was playing in his first game since being recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack---was the first scored by the Rangers in 105 minutes 5 seconds of action, dating back to the second period of their 2-0 win in Washington last Wednesday.
Talbot stopped all eight shots he faced in a scoreless second period, though a pair of Flyer shots---first by Kimmo Timonen at 3:05, then by Luke Schenn at 13:10---caught iron behind the rookie goaltender. Despite those chances for the Flyers, it was the Rangers whose play really picked up in the offensive zone in the middle 20 minutes as the visitors repeatedly worked the puck down low on the cycle. The top line of Richards, Kreider, and Derek Stepan set the tone, and one line after another---including one standout shift by the fourth line of Brandon Mashinter, Dominic Moore, and Derek Dorsett--followed suit.
That impressive shift by Moore's line, which ended at 15:09 of the second period, ended with a frustrated Simmonds looking for a fight and New York's Mashinter willing to oblige him. The two engaged in a real heavyweight bout, with Mashinter dropping Simmonds to his knees early and Simmonds bouncing back to land several big blows late. An incensed Dorsett---angered as Simonds drove Mashinter's head into the top of the boards by the Ranger s bench, was assessed a ten-minute misocnduct penalty while the two combatants received five minutes each for fighting.
Two minutes later Pouliot was tossed from the game after his hit on Max Talbot, and Cam Talbot responded in the Rangers net by making four saves--including a point-blank stop early in the third period on Brayden Schenn---during the impressive Rangers penalty kill. The Rangers finished the night a perfect 4-for-4 against the Flyers power play, killing off 11 minutes of Philadelphia man-up time.
The Rangers now travel to Detroit where they will close out their season-opening nine-game road trip with a contest against the Red Wings Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.