For one night, the third-period chants of "Mar-ty, Mar-ty" replaced the familiar "Hen-rik, Hen-rik" at Madison Square Garden.
Martin Biron, the Rangers backup goaltender who was signed on July 1 to spell Henrik Lundqvist, has been on a tear this season, and won his fifth game last night. He made 31 saves, including 15 in the third period, to preserve a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, the Blueshirts' second consecutive win.
"We all know Hank is going to play a lot and when he gets on a roll, it's tough to stop him," Biron said, "so I'm taking my opportunity right now. We need Hank, we need everybody in this locker room and he's one of our best players."
Rangers coach John Tortorella had given the nod to Biron, saying that though the struggling Lundqvist remained the team's No. 1 goalie, Biron had earned another start after Saturday's 5-2 win in Minnesota.
"When you travel and stay up till two or three the night before because you can't get out with the bad weather, and you leave in the morning today, a lot of teams are victimized coming back home, and you can't play physical," Biron said. "I think that was the total opposite for us. We responded really well."
At 7:10 of the first period, rookie defenseman Mike Sauer became a target after crushing Stefan Meyer. Tom Kostopoulos ran Sauer, triggering two penalties.
"I let up a little," Sauer said. "I didn't hit him 100 miles an hour. He didn't appreciate it."
When they came out of the box, Kostopoulos and Sauer went at it again, and then Meyer went after Sauer at 17:06.
"First time I've had two fights in a period, but it's a physical play,'' Sauer said. "That's what I want to bring to my game."
Those big hits "seemed to create a little friction," Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. "It sparked everything."
After a scoreless first, Brian Boyle was credited with the opening goal on a two-on-one with Ruslan Fedotenko when his pass deflected off defenseman Brendan Mikkelson and slid past Miikka Kiprusoff at 2:08. It had been the first shot for the Rangers in 13:25.
Jarome Iginla squared the game on a three-on-one, with Girardi sliding in vain and Biron helpless at 5:16.
Derek Stepan won the ensuing faceoff in the offensive zone and Girardi's blast from the point went in off Kiprusoff's glove, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 12:41. For Girardi, who assisted on Boyle's ninth goal, it was his first goal in 20 games.
"We really needed a win at home," said Girardi, "and Marty has really helped us."
Biron stopped Iginla down low three times in the third period, and the Rangers held on - and kept hitting.
Marc Staal flattened Matt Stajan with a high shoulder at the blue line after he had just made a pass and Stajan didn't return.
"I saw him with his head down and came across and finished my check," Staal said. "I felt more of the impact on my leg and side. We finished our checks and they didn't like it, and the animosity built."