The Rangers climbed back to the .500 mark after starting the season 0-2 with a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night, but suffered a costly setback when captain Ryan Callahan, who scored a power-play goal, injured his left arm or shoulder in a third-period skirmish with Maxime Talbot and left the game. The extent of the damage was unknown -- John Tortorella had no immediate update afterward.
Callahan scored his second of the season midway through the second period to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
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The Rangers were called for a too-many-men on the ice penalty and Kimmo Timonen, left alone with three Rangers in the corner, beat Henrik Lundqvist, spoiling his bid for his first shutout of this season.
The Rangers had to kill two more penalties, the last one with 4:03 to go when Marian Gaborik was sent off for tripping, but the Rangers held on. The Flyers were 1-for-6 on the power play and the Rangers went 1-for-2.
The Rangers went up 1-0 early on a goal by Michael Del Zotto. Brian Boyle kept the puck from Sean Couturier behind the Flyers' net, got it to Benn Ferriero, who found Del Zotto at the left point. His slapper skimmed the ice and went past Ilya Bryzgalov's right skate for his second goal in two games.
Midway through the first, Lundqvist stopped Danny Briere with one of his 26 saves. Briere finished with a career-high 10 shots on goal.
"Their goalie is so good," Briere said. "You need a great shot to beat him."
The momentum swing occured midway through the second. At 7:16, Brad Richards went off for holding former Ranger Ruslan Fedotenko, and at 7:59, Derek Stepan was whistled for a delay of game when he cleared the puck into the stands, giving the Flyers a five-on-three for 1:17. Down two men, Tortorella deployed Jeff Halpern, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi.
Things got tougher when Halpern broke his stick, but the Rangers still managed to kill the two-man advantage and hold on to their lead.
"That was definitely key tonight to have our special teams play well," Lundqvist said. "To kill off the five-on-three was huge. The last 10 minutes of the game, we kept taking penalties. Our guys stepped up and played really well in front.
"We were in a similar spot in Philly [last week] when we had our chances on the power play, but we didn't take it. We were in a tough spot taking some penalties in the third period."
The sellout crowd roared, appreciating the effort, and the Rangers struck on their own power play, which had been 2-for-23. Talbot went off for tripping Del Zotto at 11:02, and Callahan scooped up a rebound in front of the crease, went to his forehand and beat Bryzgalov, who had helped beat the Rangers, 2-1, on Thursday.
Del Zotto and Rick Nash, who started the play with a strong rush down the middle, were credited with the assists on Callahan's 200th career point.
"The last game we had some good looks, we had five or six chances," Tortorella said. "Tonight, I thought Danny and Del Z did a really good job up top and Nasher coming off the wall. We had really good puck movement, and obviously we scored a big goal on it tonight."
Del Zotto, who looks very confident with the puck, has four points in the last two games. "Maybe it wasn't the prettiest at times," he said. "But we found a way to win. That's one thing we did a great job with last year."
But now they might have to proceed, at least for a while, without Callahan.