NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at NY Rangers
(Thursday, January 4th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 3, Philadelphia 2
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Martin Straka provided all the offense for New York as his sixth career hat trick helped the Rangers down Philadelphia, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 22 shots for the Rangers, who have won their last three games.
"It looks like we really paid attention to the details<," said Lundqvist. "There were a lot of times we cleared the puck so we could make the line change and stay fresh."
Eric Meloche and Mike York both notched a goal and Robert Esche finished the game with 26 saves and was also credited with an assist for the Flyers, who had a season-high three-game winning streak halted.
"We didn't get it done in the first two periods," said Esche. "We knew they can score goals and its tough going down 2-0 to a team like that. We gotta be better than that."
Philadelphia got some bad news before the game as captain Peter Forsberg will miss up to a week with a right groin injury, the team reported on Thursday. The 33-year-old Swede has been plagued with injuries this season with his latest problem occurring during Tuesday's 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders following the first period.
The Rangers got on the scoreboard quickly as Michael Nylander sent a pass from the low left side to the low slot where an uncovered Straka one-timed the puck between the five-hole of Esche just 4:15 in.
The New York defense did a good job in the first period and held Philadelphia to just five shots. The best opportunity came when Mike Knuble skated unchecked to the front of the net, but Lundqvist came up with a left pad save on the stuff attempt about nine minutes in.
Esche stood tall after the goal and wound up making 14 saves in the opening frame.
New York made it a 2-0 game in the second period after a shot by Michal Rozsival from the right point hit traffic in front of the net and went to the left circle, where Straka snapped it in at the 5:29 mark.
Philadelphia had a golden opportunity to light the lamp in the second when the team was awarded 32 seconds of 5-on-3 play. But, New York kept the Flyers from threatening and after 40 minutes of play the Rangers held a 2-0 lead.
The Flyers cut their deficit in half with a power-play goal when a pass by Joni Pitkanen from behind the net tipped off the skate of Meloche through the legs of Lundqvist 4:03 into the third.
The goal gave Philadelphia life and the team got several shots on Lundqvist over the next three minutes, including a shot by Dimitry Afanasenkov that banged off both posts.
However, after the shot the puck popped out and Straka picked it up, skated into the Philadelphia center all alone and slid a backhander under the left pad of Esche a little less than seven minutes in for a 3-1 lead.
"Sometimes you play the same way the whole year and sometimes the puck goes in and sometimes it doesn't," said Straka. "When you have the confidence it shows. The thing is I wasn't feeling good before the game, but you get the first goal and you get the confidence."
Philadelphia made it close when, with the Flyers net open, Lundqvist gathered the puck around the left side of the net and attempted to send it down the ice. But he turned the puck over to York, who snapped it into the open net with 21.4 seconds left.
The Flyers were unable to net the equalizer before time expired.
Before the game, the Rangers signed forward Blair Betts to a contract extension...New York travels to Montreal for a game on Saturday...The Flyers continue their season-high eight-game road trip in Boston on Saturday afternoon...It was York's first goal as a Flyer. He was acquired from the New York Islanders on December 20, 2006...New York failed to score on its three power-play chances while Philadelphia went 1-for-5.
01/04 23:26:31 ET