PHILADELPHIA -- The Rangers slammed their sticks in frustration numerous times during a 4-2 loss to the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. They should have slammed more pucks past goaltender Steve Mason.
Mason made 33 saves, but the Rangers misfired on two consecutive power plays early and Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller missed half-open nets later in a chippy, physical game at Wells Fargo Center that left the Flyers one point behind the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.
"We just weren't able to match the intensity, the hitting," Dan Girardi said of the first period, when the Rangers fell behind 2-0. "We did a good job of winning the second period and just couldn't get the tying goal in the third."
With the score tied at 2, Wayne Simmonds' power-play goal at 13:23 of the second period turned out to be the game-winner after the Rangers had climbed back to tie it.
The Flyers (31-24-6) have 68 points. The Rangers (33-25-3, 69 points) host the Bruins on Sunday night. Philadelphia, which is 2-1 against the Rangers this season, visits Madison Square Garden on March 26.
It was a shaky return for Henrik Lundqvist, who was playing for the first time since winning a silver medal with Team Sweden in Sochi. He allowed three goals on 17 shots through two periods. Luke Schenn ended any suspense when he ripped a rebound past Lundqvist with 3:45 left in regulation.
"I felt like I improved as the game went on," said Lundqvist, who finished with 27 saves, including three tough ones in the third with Derick Brassard off for slashing. "I think special teams played a big part. It's disappointing. When you take a lot of penalties, you have guys sitting a little bit more. We did a lot of good things, but it was not enough."
Routed 7-3 by the Sharks in their last game, the Flyers came out of the gate playing physical hockey. The Rangers could not score on consecutive power plays with Scott Hartnell in the box -- Mason stopped Ryan Callahan's backhand in the crease on the first one -- and the Flyers seemed to grab momentum from the kills, scoring twice in 1:06.
On the first goal, it appeared that Anton Stralman, battling stick-to-stick with Vincent Lecavalier at the left post, poked the puck in the half-empty cage at 7:04. The second was clean: Sean Couturier got behind Kreider and sailed in on Lundqvist, deked the goalie to his stomach and lifted the puck over him at 8:10.
The Rangers began their comeback when Rick Nash spun and fired from the right circle and Kreider was in front for a re-direct to make it 2-1 at 4:59 of the second period.
The chippiness continued as Dan Carcillo and Zac Rinaldo went off for unsportsmanlike conduct. When they got out of the box, they came together at center ice and were tossed for 10 minutes each at 8:37.
Kimmo Timonen hooked Nash in center ice, but on the ensuing two-on-one, Kreider missed a half-open net on his backhand. On the ensuing power play, Brassard's slap shot from the slot thumped Mason's pads and slid through the five-hole at 11:42, tying the score at 2.
With Dorsett -- playing for the first time in seven weeks after breaking his leg while blocking a shot -- off for a high stick, Simmonds scooped up a loose puck and fired a low wrister from the left circle past Lundqvist at 13:23.
"We just didn't get enough looks in the third," Vigneault said.
Or enough pucks past Mason.