Friday, December 23, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Flyers 2
By Mike Mazzeo
WHAT IT MEANS: With the 2012 Winter Classic looming in just 10 days, the Rangers are clearly inside the Flyers’ heads. In a tuneup for the much ballyhooed event, the Blueshirts (21-8-4) beat up on the Broadstreet Bullies (21-9-4) for the second time this season, 4-2, on Friday night at Madison Square Garden and moved into first place in the Atlantic Division by virtue of playing -- and losing -- one fewer game. The streaking Rangers have now won four games in a row -- including three straight against divisional opponents. The Flyers came in leading the NHL in goals scored (116), but have potted just two against the Rangers in 120 minutes of physical and intense hockey in 2011-12.
SLOVAKIAN ROCKET: Marian Gaborik scored his NHL-leading 21st goal on a breakaway at 1:48 of the third period. It was his sixth goal in the last four games, but it came with scare. After scoring, Gaborik was wacked by Andrej Meszaros in the left shoulder and crashed into the left corner boards. The 29-year-old right winger returned for his next shift, but played sparingly after.
THE KING: Henrik Lundqivst made 28 saves to earn his 14th victory of the season. The All-Star netminder shut out the Flyers on Nov. 26, but Meszaros spoiled his bid for a second when he scored from the point on the powerplay with 9:39 left. Lundqivst was also beaten by James van Riemsdyk off a rebound with 2:10 remaining.
STEPPING IT UP: Derek Stepan gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 10:18 of the second with a sharp-angle redirection of Stu Bickel’s point shot. Stepan now has eight goals on the season and 13 points in his last 12 games (four goals, nine assists).
SAY CHEESE: Ruslan Fedetenko gave the Rangers a two-goal advantage -- also off a redirection of a Bickel shot -- at 15:35 of the middle frame. It was originally signaled no goal on the ice, but video replay confirmed that the puck glanced off the video camera inside the net.
FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS: Brandon Prust and Marc-Andre Bourdon kicked things off with a bout at 16:07 of the first, which ended in a right from Prust leaving Bourdon in a daze. Brian Boyle was pummeled by Tom Sestito at 12:11 of the second.
STUUUU: Bickel now has four assists in his first three NHL games. It can’t be this is easy, can it?
DUBI: While Brandon Dubinsky didn't score, the 25-year-old left winger was all over the ice. He earned a secondary assist on Fedetenko's tally.
EL CAP-I-TAN: Ryan Callahan tallied his 13th goal of the season on the powerplay with 5:58 remaining.
SHOTS! SHOTS!: The Rangers came out sluggish and out-of-sync. In fact, it took them 14 minutes and 35 seconds to record their first shot on net.
JAGRMEISTER: Jaromir Jagr played his first game at the Garden since May 1, 2008. Jagr holds Rangers records for most goals (54) and points (123) in a season. He played 3 1/2 seasons on Broadway, and has resurrected his career at age 39 in Philadelphia. Oddly, he was booed every time he touched the puck.
WHAT’S NEXT: A two-day happy holiday break followed by Rangers vs. Islanders again, Monday night at 7 p.m.