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Rangers lose, but it's not all bad news

The final tally looked as bad as the last time the Rangers were here, and Henrik Lundqvist was as upset as he looked last April after the Rangers were bounced from playoff contention on the last shot of a shootout.

But this 4-1 loss today was different. First off, the Rangers generated chances, lots of them, against a Flyers team that looks a bit less intimidating at the back without Chris Pronger. The Rangers couldn't bury anything except Derek Stepan's slot shot off a nice feed from Alex Frolov to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 11:37 to play.

But that was quickly offset by a Flyers goal after a Rangers defensive-zone faceoff win. Michael Del Zotto, who along with Michal Rozsival struggled mightily today, lost the puck along the end boards and Andreas Nodl found a ton of room to redirect the puck past Henrik Lundqvist and settle matters.

So the Rangers' big week ended 3-1-0, with a pair of third-period rallies for wins and wins over the Penguins and Caps.

"I thought it was a good week for us," John Tortorella said. "We have to continue to get better as we go along here. After Christmas, teams are going to get better and keep climbing. We have to stay with it."

Quick observations:

-- Lundqvist was in good enough form to steal this one, with 35 saves. Very solid game for him.

-- Rozsival had a lot of trouble moving the puck in this game, and he appeared to injure something late in the second, skating hunched over to the bench. He stayed in, but he was on for all three even-strength goals against, as was Del Zotto.

-- Dale Weise may get to stay around a bit longer if he puts himself around the puck and in the faces of opposing pests like he did today. He had his first NHL goal waved off after it was ruled he used a distinct kicking motion to knock the puck past Brian Boucher in the third.

"I don't want my first one to be like that anyway," said Weise, who showed some personality in a quick postgame interview. "Maybe a nice, pretty one instead."

-- Brandon Prust will definitely be looking for Danny Briere on Jan. 16 at the Garden. Prust leveled Briere with a clean hit early in the third and Briere gave Prust a little shove after the Flyers took a 3-1 lead.

"He came over and whacked me in the stomach. He was rubbing it in for sure," Prust said. On their next shift, Prust gave Briere a shove and, despite a still-sore shoulder, challenged Briere to fight. "I was just letting him know I didn't like what he did," Prust said.

-- Rangers are off tomorrow, then it's three practice days before a visit from the Lightning on Thursday.

New York Sports