New York Hockey: Michael Del Zottom Derek Stepan
April, 16, 2013
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
At a glance: The eighth-place Rangers aren't making it any easier on themselves, as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Flyers in Philadelphia on Tuesday night and continue to white-knuckle their way to the end of the regular season. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, the Rangers never recovered, as Philly netminder Steve Mason was stellar in making 38 saves to lead his team to victory at Wells Fargo Center.
Chipping away: Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen helped the Flyers reclaim a two-goal lead with a huge power-play slapper at the 10-minute mark of the second, but Derek Stepan whittled the lead to one goal, 3-2, in the third period. Stepan tallied his 15th goal of the season and registered his 18th point in 17 career games against the Flyers.
Two-goal hole: Trailing 2-0 after Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson’s goal late in the first, the Rangers cut the deficit in half, 2-1, with Mats Zuccarello’s first goal since rejoining the Rangers. Zuccarello, brought over from the Kontinental Hockey League last month, scored for the first time since March 19, 2012, on a shot from the right circle that beat Mason 2:54 into the second period.
First strike: Almost midway through the first period with only one shot from each team, Brayden Schenn opened the scoring to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 9:28. Schenn notched his eighth of the season, burying a bouncing puck at the left post on a broken play following a Rangers blocked shot.
Boyle injured: Rangers forward Brian Boyle left the game during the first period with an apparent lower-body injury. He did not return to the game. The beleaguered 28-year-old, who has endured trade rumors, demotions, lengthy goal droughts and stints as a healthy scratch this season, has been limited to two goals and three assists in 37 games this season.
Del Zotto down: Boyle wasn’t the only Ranger banged up at the end of the night. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto also left the game during the third period after taking a puck to the mouth. The puck deflected off Del Zotto’s stick after he blocked a Flyers shot. The young blueliner skated off on his own but went immediately to the trainer’s room. Del Zotto returned to the ice shortly after, however.
Bronx-bound: There is planning for a series of outdoor games next season, two of which will include the Rangers at Yankee Stadium, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com. The Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 26 and the New York Islanders on Jan. 29 in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. The deal has yet to be finalized, the source said, but it is not expected to be an issue.
Up Next: Rangers versus Panthers, Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.