NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at NY Rangers
(Sunday, March 15th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 4, Philadelphia 1
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Sean Avery scored a pair of power-play goals to lift the New York Rangers to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden.
Nik Antropov also scored on the power play and Fredrik Sjostrom tacked on a third-period goal for the Rangers, who gained a split of the home-and-home set after dropping a 4-2 decision on Saturday in Philadelphia. New York, which started the day tied with Florida for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, has won five of its last seven.
Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves in the victory, the third straight on home ice for the Rangers.
Simon Gagne scored the lone goal for Philadelphia, which had won three of its previous four entering the contest. Antero Niittymaki, making the start in place of Martin Biron, turned aside 35 shots in defeat. Biron stopped 39 shots on Saturday and had started the Flyers' last four games.
The power play was the difference in this one. The Rangers had been 1-for-15 with the extra skater in three previous games against the Flyers this season, but converted 3-of-9 chances on Sunday. Philadelphia was just 1-for-6.
"Power plays come and go. They are streaky," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella, who moved into a tie with Peter Laviolette for the most wins by an American-born NHL coach with 244. "We really wanted to get pucks to the net. We really wanted to come off and take some shots and just keep it simple. Today we were fortunate enough."
New York had three power-play chances in the first period and failed to convert on the first two before finally cashing in on the third with two minutes remaining the stanza.
Derek Morris controlled the puck at the right point, skated in a few strides and fired a hard pass toward the front of the net for Avery, who deflected a shot over Niittymaki's shoulder for his sixth goal of the season and third since being reacquired by the Rangers.
The Flyers were unable to score on their only power play of the first period. They also blew a 2-on-1 and saw a shot ring off the post, then tied it on a power play early in the second.
In much the same fashion as the Ranger goal, Mike Richards took a shot from the right point and Gagne was able to deflect it home from the slot for his 27th goal at the 4:32 mark.
A high-sticking call against Philadelphia's Danny Briere just over two minutes later led to another Ranger power-play goal. Chris Drury won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Michal Rozsival, who got the puck to Antropov along the right boards. The former Toronto Maple Leaf skated into the circle and snapped a shot past a screened Niittymaki for his 24th goal and third since being acquired by New York at the trade deadline.
The Rangers nearly opened a two-goal margin in the final minute of the second, but Rozsival directed a shot wide on a 2-on-1 with Ryan Callahan.
Braydon Coburn, though, took a major penalty just a few seconds before the end of the stanza, giving the Rangers an extended power play to start the third.
Avery made the Flyers pay again just 2:45 into the period. Markus Naslund came around the net and tried to center the puck to Scott Gomez, but it deflected off the skate of a Flyer in front of the crease and Avery was there to knock it into the net for a 3-1 lead.
"He is doing a lot of good things out there for us," Lundqvist said of Avery, who rejoined the Rangers earlier this month after being waived by Dallas. "I really like his style, the way he plays. It is not easy to come in after a couple of months off, but so far he has been doing a good job."
Philadelphia did not muster a shot in the third period until just over 11 1/2 minutes remained, but Lundqvist turned aside Jeff Carter's point-blank chance from the slot.
The Rangers then extended their lead to three with 9:49 remaining. Sjostrom, after taking a Flyer down behind the Philadelphia net without a call, was able to corral the puck and score on a wraparound.
Lundqvist made the lead stand up as the Rangers killed off a pair of penalties late in the third, including 31 seconds of a two-man Philadelphia advantage.
The Rangers last tallied three power-play goals in a game on November 6 against Tampa Bay...Avery and Antropov also scored for the Rangers in Saturday's game. Avery has a three-game goal streak...Richards extended his point streak to seven games, as did Gagne...The Flyers opened a four-game road trip that will also take them to Detroit, Buffalo and Pittsburgh...The Rangers will visit Montreal for their next game on Tuesday.
03/15 16:30:22 ET