NEW YORK, N.Y. (Jan. 29, 2013) – Despite taking four penalties, and giving up a goal in the third period, the New York Rangers held on a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday evening in an Atlantic Division battle at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y. As a result, the Blueshirts, who had lost a 2-1 decision in Philadelphia just five days earlier, improved to 3-3 on the year. Meanwhile, the Flyers dipped to 2-5 overall.
New York came out of the gate storming, as Carl Hagelin registered the first quality chance just 1:24 in on a backhand shot. Just 33 seconds later, the hosts got on the board. Off a feed from newly-acquired center Benn Ferriero, Michael Del Zotto ripped a shot from the point that beat Philadelphia goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the right side for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Del Zotto’s second of the year, while Ferriero picked up his first point.
“I was just trying to get it toward the net,” Del Zotto stated. “I saw guys in front, and it screened the goalie. He later added: “It was really nice to get the win…We are trying to keep our game consistent. Maybe it wasn’t the prettiest at times, but it was a huge two points for us (in the standings). Hopefully, we can keep things rolling.”
Later in the opening stanza, Del Zotto and Marc Staal each tried to double the Blueshirts’ advantage, but were unable to beat Bryzgalov. The Flyers, who were out-shot 11-9 in the first, had their greatest opportunity of the period with 9:15 left. Daniel Briere re-directed a shot toward Henrik Lundqvist. However, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner closed up the pads, and sent the visitors into the locker room trailing at the first intermission, 1-0.
During the second period, New York found itself in a bind nearly eight minutes in, as Philly earned a two-man advantage for 1:17. Brad Richards was sent off for holding, while Derek Stepan went to the box for putting the puck over the boards from the defensive zone, resulting in a two-minute delay of game penalty. The Rangers held their composure though, as they only let up two shots on the kill, while not yielding the game-tying goal.
“Any five-on-three, you don’t want to give them any clean looks,” described Staal. Head Coach John Tortorella uttered some words in his conference about the two-man advantage as well. “The kill was really big. We have been on the other end of it this season. It was an important part of the game.”
New York was rewarded for its efforts on the kill, as Maxime Talbot took a tripping penalty with 8:58 to go. The Blueshirts would make their rivals pay for it, as Ryan Callahan tapped in a rebound just 29 ticks into the man advantage, doubling the hosts’ edge to 2-0. With the tally, Callahan collected the 200th point of his NHL career.
For Callahan, it was sour grapes though. Early in the third, the Rangers suffered quite a blow, as their captain headed off the ice with an apparent shoulder injury, following a post-whistle scrum with Talbot. From there, the Flyers tried to take advantage of a vulnerable New York team. At the 7:09 mark, Philadelphia cut the deficit in half, as Kimmo Timonen fired a shot, from point-blank range, just under the crossbar to close the gap to 2-1.
In the first seven minutes of the third period, the visitors had out-shot the hosts, 5-0. After that, the Blueshirts responded furiously, tallying the next seven attempts. Both goalies were strong between the pipes though, as Lundqvist and Bryzgalov stopped all of the combined 11 tries in their direction. “I am getting there (with being more comfortable),” said Lundqvist. “If I make a bad decision, I am making up for it right away.”
It wasn’t an infuriating game. It just had fans on the edge of their seats for 60 minutes. Still up by a score, the hosts took a pair of crucial tripping penalties down the stretch. In the hopes of grabbing two huge points in the Eastern Conference standings, New York allowed just one shot on goal in the two power plays for Philadelphia.
Marian Gaborik closed the penalty box for the rest of the night with 2:03 left, and the Rangers yielded just one more shot on goal to the Flyers in regulation time, en route to the one-goal win. For the contest, the Blueshirts held a 28-27 edge in shots, an impressive 40-21 advantage at the faceoff dot, and a 9-2 clip in takeaways.
New York is back to the ice on Thursday (Jan. 31), when it closes out its three-game homestand against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The puck drops at 7 p.m. In their first meeting on Jan. 20, the Penguins defeated the Rangers by a 6-3 final at the Garden.