Rangers muster just 21 shots in 4-1 loss to Flyers
PHILADELPHIA - Nik Zherdev has a sniper's touch. Blair Betts is a grinder and penalty-killer. Each of the former Rangers scored a goal that was out of the other's playbook in the second period last night to lead the Flyers to a 4-1 win over the punchless Rangers.
In a close-checking game at Wells Fargo Center - the first game between the rivals since the regular-season finale that eliminated the Rangers from playoff contention last season - the Flyers stretched their winning streak to five games, holding the Rangers to 21 shots on 22-year-old rookie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Brandon Dubinsky gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 1:53 of the second period with his third goal in two games and eighth of the season. With seven seconds left on a power play, he fired Michael Del Zotto's rebound past Bobrovsky, but the Flyers responded with four straight goals.
Mike Richards paired with Claude Giroux for the Flyers while Dan Girardi was off for holding the stick. Richards drifted to the right post while Alex Frolov and several Rangers were trying to freeze the puck in the left circle. Giroux grabbed it and backhanded a nifty pass to Richards, who went top shelf over Henrik Lundqvist at 5:16.
Betts then swiped the puck from Del Zotto, who had circled his net and was being harassed by Scott Hartnell. After Lundqvist made a great sprawling save, Betts stayed with it, and his backhand follow-up made it 2-1.
Then the enigmatic Zherdev scored a bad-angle goal from the right boards toward the net as it kicked up off Lundqvist and behind him at 15:20.
"Hit my stick, my chest and then I kind of lost it," Lundqvist said. "It rolled over my shoulder. Bad luck, but at the same time, I need to be more determined to push the puck back in the corner."
When Chris Pronger made it 4-1 in the third with a one-timer on a power play (aided by Jeff Carter's screen of Lundqvist) after Brandon Prust was nabbed for retaliating, Prust took out the Rangers' frustrations by throwing some bombs at Dan Carcillo, who had hit Ruslan Fedotenko in the head coming through the zone, a lunge that Fedotenko said should be reviewed by the league. No penalty was called.
"With the [Flyers] there's always some bad blood," Prust said. "I tried to get something going. Down 4-1, I felt like doing something . . . It was one of those games where we just couldn't get any momentum going."
The chirping started in pre-game warmups. With Carcillo yapping at the red line, Derek Boogaard nudged him with a shoulder toward the Flyers' end.
John Tortorella noted the Rangers' "sloppy" offense, especially five-on-five, and was angry about Carcillo's mid-ice hit on Fedotenko. He praised Prust for doing "the heavy lifting."
The Rangers (6-5-1) visit the Devils tonight in Newark.