Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Flyers 2
February, 5, 2012
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: After downing the Flyers in the first three meetings of the season, the Rangers knocked off their division rivals once again in a Winter Classic rematch that resulted in a 5-2 win and chants of "You can't beat us!" at Madison Square Garden. Recording their second straight win in a high-octane, chippy match, the Rangers preserved their tight grasp of the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings with 71 points.
Take it back: Thirty-six seconds after Wayne Simmonds' tying power-play marker less than a minute into the third period, the Rangers reclaimed the lead with Michael Del Zotto's go-ahead goal at 1:33. Del Zotto, who leads all Rangers defensemen with seven goals on the season, put the Rangers up 3-2 before Brandon Dubinsky added an insurance goal and Ruslan Fedotenko notched an empty-netter to give the Blueshirts a three-goal advantage.
Down, but not out: After being crushed into the end boards by Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros, Marian Gaborik recovered quickly to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead late in the second. The star sniper got back up, retrieved the puck from behind the net and beat both Meszaros and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov with a back-handed wrap-araound with 5.1 left on the clock.
Shutout streak stopped: Streaking out of the penalty box, Brayden Schenn beat Henrik Lundqvist with a backhander at 12:02 of the second to tie the game 1-1. Schenn’s goal, his fifth of the season, snapped Lundqvist’s career-high shutout streak at 182 minutes, 37 seconds.
Bad blood: The first three meetings between the Rangers and Flyers have been nasty, hard-hitting affairs, and Sunday’s matinee followed suit. Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel and Simmonds dropped the gloves in a wild, entertaining fight that ignited the crowd at the Garden. Bickel went back for more in the second, this time with Philadelphia’s Tom Sestito at 6:29. Sestito, who also tussled with Dubinsky in the first, earned a game misconduct after his third fighting major of the game following a scrap with Brandon Prust.
Skid snapped: With his deflection of Dan Girardi's drive from the blue line, Artem Anisimov snapped an 18-game scoreless drought. Taking a downward chop as Girardi’s shot careened past, Anisimov tallied his eighth goal of the season to give the Rangers a 1-0 first-period lead 1:04 into play. It was his first goal since Dec. 20 in the Rangers' 4-1 win over New Jersey.
Not yet: Although Steve Eminger has been medically cleared to play, he did not return to the lineup Sunday. The 28-year-old defenseman, who has missed almost two months with a separated right shoulder, was scratched to allow for a few more days of rest, according to coach John Tortorella.
Up next: Rangers vs. Devils, Tuesday at 7 p.m.